Saturday, May 28, 2011

Writing Group: Call for Participants

As previously announced, Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar (from whom I shamelessly borrowed this text) and I are launching the pilot term of our online writing group. We're going to be starting up next Friday. For now, we'll be doing this as sort of an open-thread Friday, where you check in once a week to report on your progress. Occasionally, we may offer suggestions of things to contemplate and comment on in a given week. But mostly, it's going to be about us being a group of people who hold each other accountable for producing a finished piece of writing in a 12-week period. June 3 will be week one, the first week that you report progress. August 19th will be week twelve – the week you have your project finished.

Who can participate? Anyone who is writing something. Given that Notorious and I are both academics, and both in the Humanities, our posts will likely be geared toward that audience. But all are welcome to participate.

Lest you think this is all loosey-goosey, however, we're going to require one thing from anyone who wants to participate: A firm commitment. So that's the theme of this thread: What will you commit to writing in this twelve-week period? A conference paper? An article? A chapter of your dissertation? Will it be a complete first draft or a revision? It can be anything you want, so long as you can commit to working on it and reporting your progress weekly, and – most importantly – finishing it by August 19th. So figure out what you can reasonably accomplish, and tell us about it.

Notorious and I will alternate weeks to host. She'll take the first week, Friday June 3rd, when we'll talk about your first week's progress, but also the importance of daily writing, and your writing environment. But that's for next week. For now, let's just get to know each other, and share our project goals for the next twelve weeks.

Hope to see you there!

From Notorious: There are many wonderful writing guides out there, but one that I'd love to recommend to this group in particular is "Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks." It's geared towards advanced grad students and early- to mid-career academics, and focuses on taking something you've already got a bit of a draft of (seminar paper? conference paper?) and expanding, revising, and shaping it into a polished piece. Week-by-week instructions and everything. It's not an "assignment" for the group, but I've used it with great success.

From me: I love to track word counts, and find that posting a word count meter is useful. You can find a really nice little version here.

You have to update it at the site when you add words, and then replace the code, but it's not much of a problem. I've added one for my current project at the top left of the sidebar.

14 comments:

Gillian said...

I'd like to join, if I may. I have an article that needs writing. Because I'll be away, though, I really need to get most of it done by the end of June, since I can't guarantee time for anything bar revisions in early August. If the gap during July isn't going to be a problem, please count me in.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I think several of us will have gaps here and there -- you and I will be at Leeds, as will (I'm guessing) Dame Eleanor. I think that there still needs to be a commitment to check in and report, even if it's that you are working according to plan. Otherwise, welcome!

Gillian said...

Every Friday I have email access, I will check in and report. If I don't have email access, I will check in as soon as I do (even if it's just to say "still away").

mercurius politicus said...

I'd also like to join if I may. This is timely for me as I am trying to get the first 3-4 chapters of a book finished, and I have got slightly bogged down with other pressures in recent weeks. The project is a biography of a 17th century writer which uses his life to address wider themes relating to print, popular politics and religion. The opening chapters are in various states of disarray so my aim will be to get them to a polished, final state by August.

zcat-abroad said...

I would like to sign up! I need to get at least one article finished by then, and preferably another started.

And I'll be in Leeds, too! Looking forward to catching up in person...

What Now? said...

Yay, this is fun! (And thus exactly the shot in the arm I need to gear up for summer writing.) My summer project is to write the book proposal for the biography project I've been working on (on and off) for several years now. Totally do-able, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it, so this writing group is perfect motivation and accountability.

Audie said...

I would also like to participate! I'm working on transitioning a dissertation chapter to an article!

Anastasia said...

I have a book chapter to write for an edited volume. Would love to be counted in.

My Museology said...

This sounds like a perfect forum to help keep track and motivate my writing, so could you count me in? By the middle of August I plan to have redrafted three of my dissertation chapters.

Cly said...

Is it still possible to join? I am a post-doctoral researcher working in the Netherlands. I'm currently trying to make progress on a book project, finish revising an article and trying to come up with something vaguely interesting to say at Leeds.

I realise that latecomers might create an odd dynamic in a group that is alreadcy very popular, so no worries if I'm too late.

theswain said...

I'd like in, though this summer I'm doing lots of editing and rewriting of what I've already written. The only new stuff I'm trying to produce are the reviews/summaries for Year's Work in OE Studies, I read archaeology there.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I think joining late might be ok -- I'll put your names on the roll call for the 3rd.

Mel said...

I would really like to join!! It would be perfect since I have to finish my dissertation by the last week of this writing group session.

Sorry I'm late! I just moved and it was absolutely crazy!

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