The problem with writing is that there's not much money in it. - Cheryl Tiegs [Dq 367]
That is not true for all, but true for many. Writing problems abound, and guidance that is had, may limit your expressivity. Yet, write something, and add, and tidy it up. That is one way. There are others.
Providing guidelines for solving problems of style, F.P. Woodford [In Oco 44]
suggests these principles:
- Be simple and concise.
- Make sure of the meaning of every word.
- Use verbs instead of abstract nouns.
- Break up noun clusters and stacked modifiers (that is, strings of adjectives and
nouns, with no clues as to what modifies what).
Keep everything straightforward and readers will be grateful. [See Oco 44]
"Do not . . . studiously avoid repeating a word in a sentence. Good English stylists prefer
repetition to "elegant variation" . . . because the real menaing can easily be distorted by
a badly chosen synonym." [Oco 44]
If you write short, simple sentences you can avoid most pitfalls.
Punctuate according to the rules of English usage you are aware of.
You should make your meaning unambiguous unless you aim for something else
Get help from friends. They may assist you in clarifying meanings
[All based on sensible counsel in Oco 44-45]
Some of these steps may suit you:
- Assess your work: decide what, when, and where to publish. Define your purpose
in writing and form a working title if you can
- Be in line with the style manual that fits in or is accepted. Learn the Instructions
to Authors of the journal chosen
- Draft an abstract
- Decide on the basic form of the paper (adjust well).
- Collect the material under the major headings chosen
- Design tables, including their titles and footnotes; design or select illustrations
and write titles and legends for them
- (Write for permission to reproduce any previously published tables, illustrations or
other material that will be used)
- Write a topic outline and perhaps a sentence outline
- Write, type or dictate a preliminary draft of the text rather quickly, to give it
- Check completeness of the references assembled
- Put the manuscript or typescript away for a few days
- Re-examine the structure of the paper
- Check the illustrations and tables and make the final versions Re-read the
references you cite and check your own accuracy in citing them; check for consistency, and
reduce the number of abbreviations and footnotes
- (Re)type the paper (= first draft)
- Correct the grammar and polish the style
- Type several copies of the corrected paper (= second draft)
- Ask for criticism from co-authors and friends. Make as many adjustments and
alterations as called for and needed
- Compose a new title and abstract suitable for information retrieval, list the possible
index terms and assemble the manuscript
- Compile the reference list, cross-check references against the text, and ensure that
all bibliographical details are correct
- Retype (= penultimate version) and check typescript
- Obtain a final critical review from a senior colleague
- Make any final corrections (final version)
- Write a covering letter to the editor, enclosing copies of letters giving you
permission to reproduce any previously published material or to cite unpublished work
- Check that all parts of the paper are present, and post as many copies as specified to
- If the editor returns the paper, revise it as necessary, send it elsewhere, or abandon
it (for a time).
- Correct the proofs
[See Oco 80-81]
You do what you can. There are many other tips to be had.