There’s a lively twitter and blog community around academic writing (#AcWri on twitter and blogs such as PhD2Published, The Thesis Whisperer, The research Whisperer, Explorations of Style and patter). November 2012 has been pronounced Academic Writing Month, a communal creative exercise. It’s known as AcWriMo because that’s convenient on Twitter. The basic rules are to set yourself specific goals, publicly declare them, discuss how you’re doing, and publicly declare your results.
Many of us are wary of the prouctivity pressure in academia, which AcWriMo might seem to be part of. However, you can set your goals in whichever way you like! Read Inger Mewburn’s great post ‘Why I changed my mind about #AcWriMo’.
So here are my goals for AcWriMo 2012:
Time: Twenty-five 3-hour writing sessions. This is a hefty goal in between meetings and managerial responsibilities. The sessions are laid out as appontments in my calendar, in line with Paul Silvia’s valuable advice. Most are mornings 09:00-12:00. I haven’t planned any evening sessions, but I know that if something goes wrong during the day, I could squeeze in some 20.00-23:00 sessions. I’ll keep track of the sessions as ‘carried out as planned’, ‘partly carried out’ (e.g. with substantial interruptions) and ‘failed’ (hopefully not too many of those!).
Output: Two papers drafted and revised. 1) PREMIG Literature Review Article, with Elin Berstad Mortensen and several others. 2) Conference paper ‘Men, women and migration aspirations: a comparative analysis of sixteen areas of origin’ for the MAFE Conference, with Evelyn Ersanilli and Hein de Haas.
Quality: Attention to style in sentences and paragraphs. This is the part that often gets lost in the drive towards deliverables. But it is also what I enjoy the most about writing. I have spent time re-reading relevant blogs and books, and now is the time to put it into practice!