Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Academic Writing Month? What's Academic Writing Month?

Photo by Green Chameleon  |  unsplash.com
November is Academic Writing Month (#acwrimo) all over the world!

At La Trobe, we have our own version of it, known on all our social channels as #LTUacwrimo.

For the whole of November, we'll be focused on academic writing of all kinds, and keen to encourage your writing productivity, development, and progress.

The La Trobe program is based on the month-long, amazing, global AcWriMo activity that's taken place since 2011. The concept was created by Charlotte Frost, founder of @PhD2published.

2015 was a great year for #LTUacwrimo, and we had a great crew of participants who found the month energising, rewarding on a collegial and social level, and - most of all - productive!

So, what's in store for 2016, our fourth #LTUacwrimo?

It'll see the return of the fabulous 3-day RED researcher writing retreat - this will take place at the end of the month (21-23 Nov - save those dates now!). There's also the ever-popular 'Turbocharge your writing' sessions by Thinkwell, 'How to edit your thesis' by Magic Typewriter's professional editor Dr Andrew Macrae, our #LTUacwrimo photo competition, and a whole-of-campus 'Shut up and write' session.

It'll all take off in the first week of November with the first tweetchat, dedicated academic writing (#acwri) posts at the RED Alert blog, 'Shut up and write' sessions across our campuses, and fabulous competition launches.

The 2016 #LTUacwrimo program is now up!

If you’ve taken part in Academic Writing Month before, you know the drill:
  • Get your reading done now, stock up on your favourite productivity incentives, and clear your diary as much as you can! November is for writing, writing, and more writing!
If you’re new to Academic Writing Month, here’s the deal:

La Trobe University's Academic Writing Month (#LTUacwrimo, for short) is a month-long academic write-a-thon that takes place each November.

The idea is that you set yourself a writerly goal and get stuck in with all the information, advice, and support you’ll get from others taking part. The month helps us:
  • Think about how we write,
  • Form a valuable support network for our writing practice,
  • Build better habits for the future,
  • And maybe – just maybe – get more done in less time!
And if you can get a lot done in November – a busy time for us academics all over – think how easy it’ll be to get writing done the rest of the year!

So, here’s how you get involved. There are 6 basic steps:

1. Decide on your goal. You might count words, hours put in, or projects achieved – it’s up to you. Try and push yourself a bit. It is a whole, focused month, after all!

2. Declare it! Sign up on the 2016 #LTUacwrimo spreadsheet and fill in the sections for what you’d like to achieve. REMEMBER to keep us updated on your progress through the month! Being accountable is the key to this working for you. You need to feel a bit of pressure to get the work done!

3. Draft a strategy. Don’t start #LTUacwrimo without doing a bit of planning and preparation. Get some reading done, have a clear idea of the writing you want to do, and carve out time slots into your schedule to dedicate to writing and 'Shut up and write' sessions. Sort out whatever you’ll need to write, and get it done now! There won’t be time when November comes around.

4. Discuss your progress. OK, so being on Twitter and Facebook with us all day isn’t acceptable – you’ve got work to do – but checking in at certain times is important! We want to know how you’re getting on. What is working for you, and what isn’t? Do you need help? Do you want to share a writing triumph? We'll be using the #LTUacwrimo tag for our activities and conversations on Twitter. We also top and tail November with two hour-long tweetchats - make sure you join us!

5. Don’t slack off. If you push yourself, you’ll quickly discover the tips and techniques that work best for YOU, and that’ll save you even more time in the long-run.

6. Declare your results. It’s great to use the spreadsheet everyday (or as often as you can) to chart how you’re getting on. Even if you can’t do that, you MUST announce your results at the end of the month.

Our writing community benefits not only from sharing in your achievements, but knowing what didn’t work, and being reminded that, at the end of the day, we’re all human!

We look forward to seeing you at 2016's #LTUacwrimo events and activities!

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This post draws from entries at PhD2Published. Many thanks to PhD2Published for their leadership and support of #acwrimo activities every year around the world!

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