As Academic Writing Month Draws to an end, I wish to reflect on how it has shaped my work over the past month. I sit here in a shut up and write session organised by WISPS (#WispsWD)using the last few minutes of the writing hours to begin this post. I entered AcWriMo with the hope that it would boost my word count, encourage the completion of abstracts, a seminar paper and a chapter, as well as encourage a series of regular blog posts. The results are in and I have been successful. Both abstracts were submitted and accepted, my seminar paper is complete with a snazzy power point and just hours away from being presented to my department, my chapter has reached the desired word count and all that’s left to do is proofreading and a few tweaks here and there. Finally, my blog has been updated on a weekly basis since the beginning of this writing challenge.
AcWriMo has created a community in which academics at all levels of their career can interact, gain support, motivation and rich conversation about their work. From the very beginning participants have encouraged one another and congratulated one another as the month progressed. Everyday I looked forward to tweeting my daily goals, seeing what other people planned to do and then at the end of the day, tweeting my achievements and conversing with others about theirs. Declaring my goals publicly, motivated me to actually complete them. What would otherwise have been hours of procrastination and hesitation were transformed into times of productivity and a real drive to get on top of my work load. Knowing that many others were actively doing the same thing gave me a sense of community that was really beneficial throughout the month.
Interacting with participants was also beneficial in terms of getting advice about writing. Every day, blog posts and articles were circulated covering topics like writer’s block, planning, editing etc. Several times over the month, I experienced a dip in productivity for various reasons. Being able to pop onto twitter and find an encouraging article/post and even ask for hints and tips made the blocks and hesitations easier to overcome.
As a PhD student I had become accustomed to writing alone and going through the ups and downs of writing in relative isolation. AcWriMo has been incredibly positive for me for simply demonstrating that everyone undergoes the same periods of self-doubt, procrastination and writerly uncertainty. I feel that when this day ends and takes AcWriMo with it, that community and support system will continue. I will take my writing achievements on knowing that I can deliver on my personal goals. Furthermore, I have learned the positive impact that communication and collaboration can have on academic writing.