It’s that time of year again! – #Acwrimo or Academic Writing Month – starts on the 1st November 2014! #Acwrimo has become so popular that I imagine most people who read my blog will know what it entails by now. For my new and/or non-academic readers, #Acwrimo is a month long write-a-thon for academics that happens every November. Run via the academic publishing blog PhD2Published, that I had the great privilege of being Managing Editor of, #Acwrimo helps academics of all career stages to think about how they write, to become part of a valuable support network for writing practice, to build better habits for the future and hopefully to get more done in less time (see PhD2Published for more info!). There are lots of ways you can do it too. It could be that you work as an individual and then share your progress on Twitter or Facebook, or you might think about setting up a Shut Up and Write group where you get together with colleagues in the same room and make a social event out of it. This may even turn into a regular Writing Group.
I have always found that #Acwrimo increases my writing productivity. In the past I have shared my goals on my blog (see here for an example) and in the most part, I have achieved them! In 2012, I sat down and wrote my Leverhume Trust funding application, which was successful and is now supporting me to continue my research for another three and a half years! #Acwrimo has also been instrumental in helping me get journal articles and book chapters written and published. There are lots of things that I set out to do that I didn’t achieve as well of course. Nonetheless, having specific goals and dedicating time to write has helped me to develop as an academic writer and has helped me to generate lots of notes and ideas that I still hope will one day become something publishable.
This year I have additional challenges. I am a mum now and I work part time. As such I plan to adjust my expectations slightly and think about how to squeeze in some writing time while maintaining some work/life balance. In the past I have set specific goals such as writing a journal paper or writing a funding bid but this year I am going to work on the premise of fitting in some specific writing time each day. #Acwrimo is really flexible in that way.
I work Mondays to Thursdays so I plan to spend more time getting words down on these days. I need to do this this year because I am doing a lot of reading in preparation for conducting qualitative secondary analysis on two Timescapes datasets and I hope to think through my developing ideas through my writing. I think I am also going to treat myself to a copy of Scrivener, a writing software tool that helps writers to generate content, organise ideas and structure long form text. On my three days off (Fridays and the weekend) I hope to squeeze in a quick Pomodoro or two when the baby is napping or when I have some spare time. These will only be quick 25 minute slots but they are important for keeping up momentum and keeping my ideas ticking over.
I will be talking about my progress on Twitter throughout November and also on my blog (blog words definitely count too!). I am also an ambassador so will be checking in with all the #Acwrimo-ers on a regular basis, hopefully for some reciprocal encouragement and support.
If you want to take part just check out the ‘rules’ here and declare what you want to do! Most of all though, good luck and have fun!