It’s time to write your manuscript. You sit down at the computer, open your lab notebook, and look over all the years of research and notes. How in the world are you going to turn all of this information into a concise and successful manuscript? Writing a manuscript can feel overwhelming, but you’re not alone. With a few clear steps, hard work, and dedication to the subject matter, you can effectively communicate your work to your peers and generations of students and scientists to come. This guide for how to turn a lab notebook into a manuscript can help you organize your thoughts and set you on the road to success.
Keep Excellent Notes
When it comes to how to turn a lab notebook into a manuscript, the first step is to take exceptional notes. Make sure you use a high-quality scientific lab notebook to help keep your research as organized as possible. You might even want to create an index for your notes. As you research, be sure to record every detail of every experiment. Even if it doesn’t seem relevant, you’ll regret not having as much data as possible whenever you sit down to write the manuscript.
Create Your Figures and Tables
A blank page can be daunting. If you’re struggling to begin writing your paper, organize your figures and tables first. Create a separate document full of the diagrams for your research. Organize them into the order that makes the most sense for your paper. Don’t be afraid to get flexible or try different orders. You don’t have to stick to the order in which you conducted this research. Once you organize your key data into a sensible outline, you can use that to help you organize the manuscript itself.
Start With the Results
Even with all of your data laid out, you’re still staring at that first blank page of your manuscript. Writing the first part of your paper can be difficult. Instead, try starting with your actual data and results. This way, you can begin by writing the actual important parts of your manuscript. Once this is done, you’ll have finished the meat of the project, and you’ll no longer have to stare at a blank page. Writing and organizing the rest won’t feel nearly as daunting.