— Melanie Boeckmann (@m_boeckmann) October 10, 2013
Academic Writing Month is on our doorsteps once again. After some success with it last year – all 9247 words of it – I am definitely taking part this year. Academic Writing Month, or #AcWriMo falls in November and provides scholars with a global community “for mutual support in the, at times, painfully difficult and soul-crushingly lonely task of academic writing (Charlotte Frost, “Announcing AcWriMo”). Last year I achieved all of my #AcWriMo goals which included completing a draft of a chapter, abstracts and a conference paper. It was the discipline as well as the supportive community that came with #AcWriMo 2012 that helped make this happen.
So here are my goals for #AcWriMo 2013:
- Complete a second draft of my 3rd thesis chapter
- Complete a draft of an article for a peer-reviewed journal
- Complete at least one blog post per week (minimum 500 words)
- Organise and attend at least 1 Shut Up and Write session per week.
Rather than focusing on word count alone, #AcWriMo also allows participants to use time goals. I think I will continue last years strategy and once again aim for a minimum of 500 words/day for a minimum of 5 days/per week. This, I believe, is a reasonable goal that imposes a reasonable amount of discipline and flexibility on my time and word count. Last year I fell slightly short at times on my 500 words/day minimum rule, while exceeding it on other days. When I averaged out my word count/day it worked out a c.420. Therefore, this year I am going to pay more attention to time management and work out a plan each week in order to allocate sufficient time to meeting my goals.
During #AcWriMo 2012, I found the spreadsheet to be a motivating tool which allowed me to track my progress as well as share it with other participants. I also frequently used Twitter throughout to chat to other scholars about our work and progress. This year I am going to announce my daily progress at the end of each working day on Twitter in the hope that this will add positive motivation and pressure to achieve and possibly even succeed my goals. As Anna Tarrant states,
Social media platforms offer a great hybrid space – somewhere between the formal institution we’re affiliated to and the comfort of our own homes – where we can think out loud, ask for advice, build a support network, write and research collaboratively (The Guardian).
Moreover, I have found Shut Up and Write an invaluable method throughout my doctoral research. It provides a more localised support system of fellow scholars to write with and communicate my research to. Thus I have included it in my list of goals as I feel it will be an essential tool in boosting my productivity during #AcWriMo 2013.
Writing in Public
However, my shut up and write sessions represent but a small satellite group in a growing global community of scholars who are using social media platforms such as blogs and twitter and emerging from the nooks and crannies of traditional scholarship into the public eye. This serves not just as a vast and varied support network of geographically and disciplinary diverse scholars, but it brings our work into the public eye, demonstrating what a typical day is in academia, how we use our time, and what we are producing.
I dare you to join me and all the other #AcWriMo participants! If you are planning on participating I would love to hear about your goals and plans for this November.
Click here for more information on #AcWriMo 2013 and how to participate.