Friday, July 9, 2010

Writing my first paper: Oh, the pain!

I am in the midst of editing my first scientific paper, and it's painful! I'm sure most of the pain is self inflicted. It's not bad once I sit down and start working, but it seems like the work never ends. I've been working with the same (last) figure for the paper for many weeks, fighting computer problems that defy explanation. I finally moved the scripts to a different machine. I don't think it's working. Though the program is still listed as an active process, the output file is showing no progress.

The part of the paper that I can write without the last figure is coming along. I'm flailing a little because I'm not sure how to write it. I suppose I'll find out if I'm doing it correctly when I send my polished-as-I-can-get-it draft to the advisor. To do that, however, I need to plot the last figure.

I have completely given up hope of finishing the prelim before the end of summer. I'd have to figure out how to run a model, generate preliminary data, write everything up, and figure out what else I have to do for a prelim in the next two weeks before my adviser and I are both out of town for the majority of August. Dammit!

As a result, I am registered for a class this fall on using the WRF model. I suppose it'll be a useful class. I still don't want to take it.

In positive news, my journalism (copyediting) professor invited me to chat with her about finding a way to get the experience and knowledge I need to break into science writing. I'll definitely take her up on that.

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