By Laura Lunt,

Hey this is Ecem, one of the Your Rheum members.

Laura and Janet (Your Rheum organisers), at a virtual Your Rheum meeting earlier in the year, talked about an opportunity to write a piece of work for a scientific journal called BioMed Central, or BMC for short. The paper was going to be about the involvement of young people in rheumatology research. I had never been involved in something like this before, so thought I should ask about it. I emailed Laura and she explained the process behind writing papers and how it would go.

As I said, this was the first official piece of writing I had written, so it was a bit daunting – I wasn’t sure how I should even start.  Laura gave me a few prompt questions and from there on, I started to draft a long paragraph. I quickly got into it and what I wrote just came naturally. Janet and Laura really helped me make my writing sound professional and coherent.

Once I wrote my section, I also helped gather information from researchers who had worked with Your Rheum in the past. We did this so that we could also include the researchers’ perspective. I did a quick zoom meeting with a researcher and asked them some questions I came up with. It was very casual and we recorded the conversation so that we could look back on the transcript and add their quotes to the paper. The process after this then involved me reading many different drafts of the paper, giving feedback and maybe adding additional thoughts –   It’s very simple though.

I think one of the best things from being involved in this work, is the fact that I have a paper in a published journal with my name on it. It made me feel really cool being put down as an author. Another great thing to come out of this, is that I now know how these things work and the process involved. I’m sure this will be very helpful for writing papers in college/uni. Lastly, it will be great for putting down on my personal statements.

I think the only ‘bad’ thing, is how long it takes to write a paper. It can take many drafts before it’s published. This isn’t because I had to do anything more or something was wrong, it’s just about getting it right. And it’s only a bad thing, because I want to see it published ASAP! It’s an exciting thing to see…link to the publication will be shared with everyone once we have it 🙂

One tip I would give to people my age, is write honestly. I did this and it was a hit with the reviewers 😉 – they really liked my perspective as a young person. A tip for professionals writing papers with young people is, prompt questions are the biggest help ever! I don’t know how I would have started writing without this help, especially as it was my first time.

Overall, I’d go for it again if I had the opportunity!