Remember when you were young and loved writing your thesis because each page was the start of something new, filled with opportunities? Me neither. Writing a thesis is ugly. All those hours. The eye strain. Countless sleepless nights. And that was just Call of Duty and Halo on the Xbox 360; the tactical task avoidance.
No, no, no. The writing occurred in the daytime. Oh how my hands began to ache… from all the cleaning and tidying. At no other point in my life did I have such a burning desire to vacuum.
Finally, knowing my world was temporarily safe from zombies and bacteria, I could head to the PhD write-up rooms and focus on drafting that new section I’d been dreaming about. Page after page after page. Writing. Coffee. Referencing. Tea. More writing. And on and on it goes.
I love writing. But a thesis is just plain evil. It’s so terrible that you’re not allowed to ask fellow PhD students how their thesis is going. It’s frowned upon. In fact, it’s just plain rude. One day you’ll accidentally drop the bomb – it’s inevitable. And when that nightmare does occur you must break eye contact, act like it never happened and get out of there sharpish.
Anyway, guess what? I have superpowers. And I was able to save my 'thesis in distress'.
My superpower? A reference manager.
These simple yet powerful tools let you add citations as you write, automatically creating a bibliography in any style you like. If you later decide to swap a few sections around, then the citation numbers and bibliography references will get updated automatically. Take a section out, any one you like, and no need to manually renumber them all. Bliss.
All of the above, that was my old life. Many moons have since passed. I’m now a Word Monster – a freelance creative copywriter and medical writer. ‘What the deuce!’ or ‘Holy moly!’ is what I cry on the inside when I meet other copywriters or medical writers who:
Don’t know what a reference manager is (*facepalm*)
Don’t know how to use one (lmgtfy)
Prefer to reference manually (*shudder*)
Say they can’t afford the software (it’s free!)
You know that small, medium or giant document that you recently spent hours, days or weeks writing and citing. Yep. Well, it will be sent to a client, right? That might mean there’s going to be one or two teeny weeny changes coming your way.
You work hard. Life is tough enough as it is. Give yourself a break.
Download a reference manager today.
I use Zotero. It’s awesome.