Are you looking for ways to focus on your academic writing?
Do you find it difficult to complete writing tasks?
Do you work well when you have dedicated time blocked out for writing?
Do you find hearing from others about their writing plans and progress is motivational and useful to support your writing aims?
Did you know November is Academic Writing Month . . .
Academic Writing Month
This is an annual event established as a way to support academic writing. During this month, the IAD run Writefest with the aim of bringing people together to raise awareness and celebrate academic writing.
For Writefest2023, we run a series of writing themed workshops and offer online and in person writing retreats and writing hours. We also have different opportunities to interact and share progress, more on this later in the blog!
Writefest Writing Retreats and Writing Hours
Participating in our Writefest writing retreats/hours will allow you to join a community of writers to start, continue or complete your writing project. Whether your project is a chapter, an article, a book proposal or grant application, setting aside dedicated time to write can be the key to getting it done and keeping up momentum. The retreats are also a really good opportunity to talk to colleagues about writing practices and exchange tips on how to overcome writing challenges. Writing does not have to be a lonesome activity that has to be mastered in isolation.
Alongside this, having time to reflect on your writing practice and experience the benefits of a regular writing habit can increase your motivation to write. You may find that you develop a writing ritual, such as writing at certain times of the day when you are most focused and creative, or finding places where you write best. Knowing what works for you can help to avoid writer’s block and encourage creative thinking. It’s also important to make sure you set realistic writing goals – this could be a certain amount of time every day or a word count, but setting yourself an achievable goal is important.
However, any writing project comes with ups and downs, there will be days when it’s harder to get into a flow than on others. Remember writing is hard, often it’s just about getting some words on the page, and sometimes getting started can be the hardest part. Breaking down the big task of ‘writing’ into its different components – idea dump, structure scaffold, adding paragraphs, fine-tuning topic sentences – can help in achieving a sense of moving forward. You may want to think about the writing of a first draft, writing those new words, and leaving the editing and restricting to later. Make sure you read our guest blog from Allan Gaw, who provides some insight into this Who’s afraid of the big blank page. Often, it’s simply about changing your writing environment and avoiding distractions. We have a blog post with hints and tips for getting writing done when you’re finding it challenging Writefest Top Tips
If you are unable to attend one of our writing retreats, or enjoyed attending one, consider setting one up yourself. There’s no better way to keep yourself on track with a writing project than by creating accountability. Writing retreats and groups are proven to increase productivity. Have a look at our guide for support around how to do this Writing Retreat Facilitators guide.
What else can you get involved in?
Below are a few extra Writefest activities for this year, to make it more interactive and supportive:
- Writefest Launch Event – on the 1st November, you can find out more about Writefest, meet other researchers, and hear from Mary Paulson-Ellis – Royal Literary Fund Fellow – who will give a brief overview of the 1-1 writing support available at the University for researchers.
- Logging daily word counts – over the month we will invite researchers to share (completely optional) the number of words they have written during their writing retreats, to add to a word count total. This will show us the collective words written at University of Edinburgh during Writefest, and we’ll share this on our Writefest webpage. It will allow us to illustrate how powerful writing retreats can be for getting those writing projects underway and on a personal note, is a good way to log daily word counts and get a sense of whether you are setting realistic goals, reflecting and adjusting for the next time if necessary.
- Writefest Padlet – We have set up a padlet to allow the sharing of any writing tips and celebrating achievements (big or small) during Writefest2023.
- Writefest Calendar – have a look at what is running during November for Postgraduate Researchers and Research Staff, in our Writefest calendar
Further information about what is running during the month, with links for booking, can be found on our Writefest webpage
Final question, Have you set your writing goal for Academic Writing Month?
Let’s get writing!