Get writing! On the value of #AcWriMo for getting writing done

Posted on: 25 October 2021 by Dr Eli Saetnan (Length: 341 words - Read time: 1 minute, 42 seconds) in Blog posts

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Writing is an integral part of doing research, but if writing is so important, why do we all struggle so much to find time for it?

All researchers need to write, and all researchers struggle to find time to write. Writing is an integral part of doing research, but if writing is so important, why do we all struggle so much to find time for it? The Thesis Whisperer wrote a great explanation of this conundrum some years ago. As she suggests, Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) can be a way of reclaiming our writing time and rebuilding our writing practice. In honour of #AcWriMo, the Researcher Development Team are planning a weekly PowerHour – 1 hour of writing. But one hour isn’t enough, I hear you shout!

It is a fallacy to think that you need a full day free from all other commitments, and a full day refreshed and inspired, in order to get any writing done. Raul Pacheco-Vega explains his strategy well on his blog. He suggests that what you need is a regular writing practice, setting frequent and small writing goals, and engaging with your writing frequently in some small way. Writing just a few words every day can add up to a lot over time. And regular engagement with your writing means you spend less time re-reading what you wrote in order to remember where you were up to each time.

My challenge to you now is to set aside half an hour, before #AcWriMo (WriteFest21) kicks off on 1 November, to make a detailed writing plan for the month. Take that big writing task, the paper or grant proposal or book chapter or whatever other big writing job you are struggling to get done, and break it down into 15-minute chunks or even smaller. What is the next paragraph you need to write? What is the next sentence you need to write? What is the next reference you need to incorporate? Make a long list of these mini-tasks. Then come to the first PowerHour session prepared to begin tackling that list. I guarantee you will be amazed at how much progress you can make in just one hour of concentrated writing time!

Find out more about WriteFest21.

Person typing on a laptop with a glass of water beside them and a watch.

About the author

Dr. Eli Saetnan is an Academic Developer with a keen interest in supporting early career academics in developing all aspects of academic practice and scholarship. She has constantly made time for writing, throughout her career, and has published in a range of different academic disciplines.


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