The 5 stages of writing

There comes a time in every scientists’ career when they have to write. Whether it’s a paper or a report, the process is the same.

Firstly, Denial.

This stage also involves throwing yourself into anything apart from what you should be doing, which we all know is writing. Cue finding yourself in the lab at every available opportunity, doing all of those experiments you’ve been putting off for months. If you just don’t THINK about what you should be doing, then it will definitely go away.

Next, Anger.

Why on earth do you even have to write this stupid thing? You’re far too busy doing all of this actual work and analysing everything to actually write about it. If it’s a report as part of your PhD, or a grant application, and wiring a paper, you should be focussing on getting the results. Anyway, if you spend time writing then you won’t have anything to actually write about. Don’t supervisors understand how busy you are?!


Awkward yeti

And then, Bargaining.

With yourself, with other lab members, it doesn’t matter who. “If I make your presentation, can you write the introduction? We work on the same thing anyway!” Bargaining with yourself gets even worse. “OK, so I’ll just watch one episode on Netflix, and then I’ll write the introduction/figure legends/results section.” Five hours and zero words later…

Followed by, Depression.

Maybe depression is a bit of a strong term, but definite pity and sorrow going spare. Hamming it up in the office, telling everybody and anybody who will listen how hard it is, how many papers you’ve had to read and how many words you’ve yet to write. Why is writing SO hard? Forgetting all of the words you actually want to use, all of the time.

Finally, Acceptance.

Fine, I’ll just sit down and write. Deadline looming, numerous emails from your supervisor and a full pot of coffee. You can do this! But I’ll just check my emails first…


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