The process of writing

Creating a text involves the scrutinizing and summarizing of knowledge, but also includes the actual process of writing. Even among experienced writers, few are able to produce a final version of a text in the first draft. Writers can certainly benefit from experience, but there is a danger that habituation can result in an over-reliance on tired formulae. While writing requires know-how and knowledge of language and genre conventions, the act of writing is also creative cognitive activity.

There are many ways of stimulating the act of writing and getting the process started. One such tried and trusted method is to chart your thoughts on a mind map. With the help of a mind map, you can organize (construct) the knowledge you possess. In this way, you can create for yourself a representation of your own thoughts and the relationships between them before you start to write. Used well, a mind map can clarify the boundary between essential and non-essential knowledge. Mind maps are particularly helpful for writing which is goal-oriented and situated in a specific context, a characteristic of the writing of scientific journal articles. There are several free mind mapping tools available online.

The larger and more complex your research study, the greater the challenge of reporting your reading and communicating new knowledge. In this, we can make a distinction between the reiteration and the reworking of knowledge. The reiteration of knowledge is the reporting of knowledge published by other authors in your own articles, in order, for example, to provide a theoretical frame of reference for your research. The reworking of knowledge is essentially connected to the shaping of new knowledge from your own research. Through references to the literature, scientific text is characterized by intertextuality, which can be described as a discussion between texts. These dialogues stimulate your thinking, help you to develop your stance and formulate your own unique contribution to the discipline.

Scientific articles are limited to a certain length, which means that you are faced with a concrete challenge of meeting this limitation. You have to be able to recognize the essential aspects of a study and publicize these in accordance with the conventions of the discipline and the journal in question. The main focus of scientific text can be considered to be new knowledge (research findings) rather than reiterated knowledge (received knowledge). To separate essential from non-essential knowledge, you may need to be aware of when you are writing for yourself and when you are writing for others. While writing for yourself is informal, even creative, activity, writing for others relies on the communication of knowledge using formal conventions. These two dimensions are a fundamental part of the process of writing scientific articles. You can lessen the anguish of creation by permitting yourself to write for yourself. In the process of writing, the creation and revision of text go hand in hand, in parallel with writing for oneself and writing for others.

An indispensable part of the writing process is the procurement of feedback. Ideally, a draft should be read by several readers so that the feedback includes a variety of perspectives. It is important that you also request positive and supportive feedback. As the feedback is received, the revision continues and lasts until the publication of the text.

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