Did you know that November is Academic Writing month?

An annual event inspired by NaNoWriMo and originally hosted by PhD2Published has seen the academic community come together to support, celebrate and raise awareness of academic writing via the #AcWriMo.  WriteFest is our local contribution to this academic writing month, aiming to bring together University of Edinburgh researcher staff and students to write, record progress and share tips via the hashtag #AcWriFest20 – so do you want to get involved next month?

This will be the third year that we’ve run WriteFest at the University of Edinburgh and we love the focus it brings during November to all things writing.  In light of the current COVID-19 situation, we are planning for this year’s festival to be fully online.

The main feature of our month is Writing Retreats,  based on the work of Professor Rowena Murray, University of West of Scotland.  The aim of a writing retreat is to use dedicated writing time to progress writing projects such as book chapters, journal articles, research proposals and reports.  Our online writing retreats this year still allow protected time and space to focus on writing.  Most of the time is now used for writing and everyone is logged into the online session, visible in the ‘participant’ space instead of physically in a room, but there is still the opportunity to share progress, tips and see what others are planning to do.  We have two different online writing sessions to consider:

Researcher Writing Hour – This does what it says on the tin!  One hour solely focussed on writing.  Most of our full day retreats are broken down into writing slots of typically 1hr, so this session is allowing you that hour of dedicated writing time, in the morning, thereby giving you the chance to do some writing and then continue with your work for the rest of the day.

The session includes a 10-minute check-in at the start to allow participants to share hints and tips and to allow you to focus on what you want to achieve in the session.


10:00 – 10:10: General check-in and planning

10:10 – 11:10: 1 hour of writing

11:10 – 11:15: Wrap up and check in.


Writing Retreat – this full day writing retreat will include two 1hr 50minute writing slots, with a large break in the middle.  They follow the same format of the Researcher Writing Hour, but giving two longer sessions to focus on writing projects.


Part 1: 09:30 – 11:30: Planning at the start followed by 1hr 50min minute writing slot
Extended break: 11:30 – 13:30
Part 2: 13:30 – 15:30: Revising planning from start of the day followed by 1hr 50min Writing slot

As part of WriteFest we are running two Researcher Writing Hours and one Writing Retreat each week in November, up until 30th, providing many opportunities to get some writing done!  If you are interested in booking a writing session visit: https://www.ed.ac.uk/institute-academic-development/research-roles/research-only-staff/writing/writing

A feature of WriteFest, different from our normal writing retreat, is collecting the number of words participants have written at each of our writing retreats, which is then added to a word count total.  The idea behind this is to show the collective words written at University of Edinburgh during WriteFest, and to illustrate how powerful writing retreats can really be for getting those writing projects underway.  We will also be asking for ‘Top Tips’ on how people have adjusted to home working, with all its opportunities and challenges for writing and during the current pandemic.    Both of these will be updated on our webpage.  At the end of the retreats, we will be asking people to share this information (optional).

In addition to the writing retreats, we will also be signposting to writing resources and guides, and sharing tips via our blog (https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/iad4researchers/) and twitter accounts (@researchersated and @IAD4PhD) make sure to give us a follow to see what’s going on!

We encourage all research staff and students to join in, write, tweet and share their progress!

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