Monday, August 10, 2015

My dissertation writing workflow

Writing is difficult. Establishing a writing workflow can help you focus. The picture below shows my screen during dissertation writing sessions. My word processor is LibreOffice. In order to comply with the formatting requirements from the UPLB Graduate School, I created custom styles for the different sections of the document. I also created a separate document file for each section. This allows me to work independently on each section. All sections are consolidated in a single master document from which the PDF file is generated. In order to keep track of the changes, I use the Git version control system. Also, Zotero is open in Firefox for reviewing related work. The Zotero LibreOffice plugin allows me to insert citations and bibliographic entries directly from my Zotero library. Note: what works for me may not work for you. 

The template is free to download.


  1. Open the master document.
  2. Choose section to work on from the master document navigator. The corresponding document is loaded.
  3. Write.Cite.Edit.Save.
  4. Repeat 3 until there is something to write.
  5. Close section document.
  6. Go back to master document and update selection and indices.
  7. Save the master document.
  8. Generate a PDF.
  9. git commit, git push
  10. Choose another section to work on if desired.
  11. Repeat 2-10 until writing time is over.