Critical Reading Practices
Critical reading can prepare you for publication, and, especially in fields where publications are expected early in one’s career, these are practices you should adopt as soon as possible. As you read for class, consider which articles best conveyed their argument and/or achieved their purpose. Which are believed to be the best examples in your field?
Read not just for content but also as a future author analyzing examples of form. Based on what the article looks like, what was the likely process of composition behind the piece? How and when does each author use tables, figures, etc.? How do they outline their argument and support it? What kinds of secondary research did they use?
Establish a Writing Routine
Everyone’s writing routine will be a little different based on when they are most productive and where they do their best work. A few general tips include setting goals, establishing a writing community, and writing early and often in the writing process.
When setting goals, try to work backwards from larger, long-term goals to smaller short-term goals. These smaller goals will seem more manageable. Check out our Staying on Track and (Re)Committing to a Writing Routine pages for more helpful tips!
To reach these goals, it can be helpful to seek out accountability buddies or writing groups for support which can provide accountability for writing and can also provide feedback on your paper. The Writers Workshop hosts twice-weekly writing accountability groups, which is a great place to start! If you prefer asynchronous accountability groups, you can also use our writing accountability Discord server.
Finally, it is important to start working on the paper early and then continue to write often—daily if possible! By starting the process early, you leave yourself time to develop ideas and gather any additional research you might need. Further, if you set aside and protect your writing time each day, you will be able to practice your writing while also making progress on the paper.
Writing Process for Publication
The writing process is often cyclical when moving from writer to advisors or committee members and then coming back to the writer with more edits before finally submitting it to a journal. However, there are three main stages a writer will go through:
Drafting: Writers use numerous techniques to get something onto the page, like free writing, outlining, and word mapping. In this stage, the focus should be on the idea rather than the writing itself.
Revising: Take a step back and consider the larger structural issues and the overall flow of the paper.
Editing and Proofreading: The last step is to fine-tune the paper, looking at the flow on a sentence-by-sentence basis and cutting any excess information.
Keep in mind, the Writers Workshop can help writers in any of these stages!
Common Article Structures
Articles are structured slightly differently based on the field of expertise focused on by specific journals. Below are examples of the IMRAD structure of articles (most common within STEM and the social sciences) and a common outline for articles written for humanities-focused journals.