Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Academic Writing Month (#LTUAcWriMo) at La Trobe turns 5!

Since 2013, the RED team has created a month-long, multi-campus and online program to enable and encourage academic writing: with events, blog posts, workshops, and conversation on Twitter around the #LTUacwrimo hashtag. In the last 5 years, papers, books, chapters and theses have been completed and people have built great habits, gained new insights into what works for them as writers, and enjoyed the camaraderie of writing together.

Since 2015, Academic Writing Month has culminated in a three-day writing retreat. We are delighted to offer this program again, but book in early, it is very popular and spaces are limited! (Read about Jason Murphy’s experience of attending the retreat.)

 If you would like to make significant progress on your academic writing, with like-minded colleagues, then this month-long festival of writing is for you. Academic Writing Month has been developed for all researchers at all levels (including graduate researchers), at every campus and externally. 


What is AcWriMo at La Trobe?

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

Academic Writing Month is part of a global program, 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. (She explains how to get the most out of AcWriMo in this blog post). If you aren’t sure about whether AcWriMo is for you, you might find this blog by the Thesis Whisperer useful: Why I changed my mind about #acwrimo.

During November, we’ll be working together to:
  •  Think about how we write,
  •  Form a valuable support network for our writing practice,
  •  Build better habits for the future, and
  •  Make progress towards our writing goals!
November is a busy time for academics: with marking, conferences, grants proposals and research all on our desks. So AcWriMo can help you to think about how to make progress even when it’s busy. 

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. Make it a goal that challenges you, as you have a whole focused month and a lot of support!

Think about making the goal SMART: aim for ‘I will carve out 2 hours a week to write’ or ‘I will spend 30 hours a day, and complete 250 new words in that time, Mon-Friday, Nov 1-21’, rather than ‘I will finish a chapter in November’.

To help you develop towards your goal we will be offering:
  • A weekly newsletter with advice, encouragement and news in your inbox, every Monday. Sign up here.
  • Blog posts about writing strategies and experiences from La Trobe colleagues here on RED Alert every Tuesday.
2. Declare it! Sign up to our weekly newsletter, and submit your goals. You’ll also get weekly advice, encouragement and news in your inbox.
If you loved the accountability spreadsheet, it will be back.

3. Draft a strategy. Now is the time to think about any reading or experiments you need to get finished, and to block time out in your diary for November to actually spend time writing. Writing groups can be a really helpful way to achieve this (as Priscilla Ennals, Carmel Hobbs and Ingrid Wilson found, in their AcWriMo blog post.).

To help you, book these joint writing sessions in your diary now:
4. Discuss your progress. In the middle of your Pomodoro writing sprints or when you are winding down for the day, check in with us on social media. 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, all week, but we especially encourage you to be part of our Twitter drop in every Friday in November at 2pm.

5. Keep up the momentum. Keep going for the full month. If you fail to meet your goals one day, get sick, or have to deal with an emergency, don’t give up. Also, don’t get complacent when you’ve had a great first week. AcWriMo is a marathon not a sprint, and the hare and the tortoise, both have a chance to get over the finishing line!

6. Declare your results. Tell us about your achievements via the #LTUacwrimo Twitter hashtag, come along to our closing celebration on 30 November, or find your own way to celebrate your successes.
And don’t stop there! While LTUacwrimo only lasts for a month, think about what strategies, support networks or techniques worked for you, and plan to integrate them into December, January, and the academic year ahead.

You can read all the posts from the last 5 years about AcWriMo. Learn what worked for La Trobe researchers and benefit from their experience and advice as you make your own writing goals for this year!

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