Moving from a first draft to a publishable document

Following my post on finding a note-taking app that works for you, I received questions about how I move from my first draft to a publishable version.

In my experience, RoamResearch is excellent for generating quick first drafts. When I feel stuck and need to generate content to see where ideas fit, I turn to Roam. In general, I don’t like having my writing across many different places. This is particularly important when sending versions to co-authors for comments and needing to keep track of these changes. Overall, I find that Microsoft word is still my go to tool for refining documents.

Most of my academic writing has often taken place in Ulysses. I like Ulysses because of its simplicity, Markdown, and text editing tools. However, I am currently using Obsidian for the same purpose and appreciate the extendability of the app with plugins.

In general, I often capture thoughts for a paper in my quick capture tool. I’ve written about how important quick capture is in my writing process. Next, I create a first draft in Ulysses, export it as a word document and send out the word version as a first draft to co-authors. I find that its hard to go back to Ulysses after this step, so I continue writing and editing in Microsoft word from this point on. I haven’t found a better process for handling comments once they come back. So all refinements happen in Microsoft word.

Over many years, Microsoft word has remained stable and offers enough features for wrangling documents and working with comments. Although it is not as shiny as recent apps, it works as intended!

Stay tuned for more posts on note-taking, writing, and general productivity.


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