Right now I’m in the middle of writing a long paper. This is a rather intense and time consuming effort that I don’t find particularly gratifying. On a good day, I can write a lot. But when I get annoyed at how something is organized I usually copy/paste and end up reorganizing things and that is usually not bad (it’s easier than retyping). However…
when I do that, some snippets here and there assume another part of the text that comes after the new pasted location. So what am I to do? I have to spend (one could even say waste) time getting the concordances right and each copy/paste turns into a major edit.
When I do this in programming the compiler tells me where things have gone wrong and I can find the errors more easily. It also doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to do its job.
When writing a paper the aesthetics of the order of the flow of ideas is important. I’m not particularly good at getting this right off the bat, heck, I don’t consider my papers to be particularly easy to read even after I have spent a lot of time tweaking them for ease of readability and hoping to make them more accessible.
With shorter papers this process takes less effort because the possible permutations of ideas available on snippets are that much smaller.
I’m starting to think that paper writing has the following scaling equation
Where is the effort required to write the paper, and is the length in pages of said paper. I believe in my case is close to two, so that makes it more efficient to split a long paper into sorter papers. Except that papers are not always happy with that and they just refuse to comply with my wishes for fast writing. They also have not managed the skill of writing themselves on their own (even if I have collaborators).
I’m looking forward to the days when I can tell my computer to write a paper semi-automatically and hopefully the computer will take care of all of this.
in the meantime I’ll go back to burying myself in my equations and sort the paper out.