Your mileage may vary, but after many years of trial and error the following rules of thumb or “dos and dont’s” have worked for me:
- Do not write unless you have something new or original to say.
- Do your research; allocate sufficient time to read the relevant literature on your topic. Note: This is the most important and time-consuming part of the writing process, but the more research you do, the easier to know when you have something new or original to say. (See Item #1 above.)
- Establish a word quota for each of your writing sessions (my target is 500 words per writing session, or one single-spaced page), and be sure to block off a non-negotiable time of day to write. (In my case, I like to get my writing done in the early morning hours after I drop my daughter off at school but before I check my emails or run any errands.)
- Open up a new Word document for each writing session. (I do this so I don’t get bogged down editing my previous writing. I will have plenty of time to edit my work once I have a decent-sized working draft.)
- Write up the introduction section and abstract last and keep the intro as short as possible (one page max).