Background: Science involves publishing results, but many scientists do not master this. We introduced dictation as a method of producing a manuscript draft, participating in writing teams and attending a writing retreat to junior scientists in our department. This study aimed to explore the scientists' experiences with this process. Methods. Four focus group interviews were conducted and comprised all participating scientists (n = 14). Each transcript was transcribed verbatim and coded independently by two interviewers. The coding structure was discussed until consensus and from this the emergent themes were identified. Results: Participants were 7 PhD students, 5 scholarship students and 2 clinical research nurses. Three main themes were identified: 'Preparing and then letting go' indicated that dictating worked best when properly prepared. 'The big dictation machine' described benefits of writing teams when junior scientists got feedback on both content and structure of their papers. 'Barriers to and drivers for participation' described flow-like states that participants experienced during the dictation. Conclusions: Motivation and a high level of preparation were pivotal to be able to dictate a full article in one day. The descriptions of flow-like states seemed analogous to the theoretical model of flow which is interesting, as flow is usually deemed a state reserved to skilled experts. Our findings suggest that other academic groups might benefit from using the concept including dictation of manuscripts to encourage participants' confidence in their writing skills.