A reflection on #AcWriMo 2014

acwrimo1-01-300x114So #AcWriMo has come to an end for another year. As ever, it has been a popular and productive initiative, enticing scholars from across the world and from different disciplines and career stages. The hash tag on Twitter has facilitated discussion by these scholars in an online peer-to-peer support network, providing a forum for the sharing of hints and tips about writing practice and critical reflection on the various challenges of writing as an academic. The Twitter hahstag has therefore collated a number of hugely useful resources for academic writers that can be viewed all year and that continue to evolve using the #AcWri hashtag for the rest of the year. PhD2Published also hosts a number of #AcWriMo related resources that can be viewed at any time.

This year I had two additional challenges; being a new (ish) mum and working part time. I was also struck by how much the stage of my research affected my need and desire to write. Being a mum and working part time did affect my ability to write lots every day but this did not matter so much to me this year because instead of binge writing, I decided to follow Raul Pacheco-Vega’s advice and just make sure that I put some time aside each day to write. On my day off, I wrote when my toddler was napping. I also gave myself a day off during the weekend. Working at the weekends is not a habit I particularly want to get into if I can help it so I didn’t put the pressure on myself to make this happen this year.

What has really struck me this year is the extent to which being at the start of a research project has influenced how much I have written, what kinds of things I have written about and what kinds of writing I have done. I am not currently working on publications (although I have got some corrections to do on an accepted journal article) so I didn’t have any specific writing projects to work on. I did write every (working) day in some way or another though. I was busy writing bibliographies that will inform my literature reviews, I was taking written notes at seminars, I wrote several blog posts about my academic practice, I wrote an outline to my project for practice and policy audiences (something I have never done before and required a quite different kind of writing), I was writing Emails and so on. I have no idea how many words this all equated to because these were quite bitty bits of academic writing but I do know that they were productive words and I think this is what I learnt from #AcWriMo this year. Spending some quality time on writing, in whatever form, and chipping away at various things is sill highly productive and has contributed to my broader thinking and research development. I expect to keep up this approach on a daily basis and make sure that I value every word I write down as part of a broader experience of scholarship. Even if it does not end up being published, writing is key to the process of learning and developing as a scholar and every bit of it counts.

How was your #AcWriMo this year?

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