AcBoWriMo on PhD2Published
I am a nutter, it’s official!
Over on PhD2Published I have declared November AcBoWriMo! Based on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I have (strongly) suggested that I and my colleagues – both here in Milwaukee and in the wider global academic community – throw on some comfy clothes, shut down our email accounts, and coffee-up our brains for a month of intense writing. That’s right, as participant Bettina Frankham has it, we’re going to ‘write like there’s no December’!
I’ve said that it doesn’t really matter what writing you’re writing for AcBoWriMo, just as long as it relates to academia, and you’re willing to push yourself throughout November to get it done. In a fit of madness, I myself am intending to get as close to 50, 000 words (the remit of NaNoWriMo) as possible. I’d like this to be a good rough draft of my book but some of it might end up in the journal articles I’ve got on the go too.
I do have some form in the writing productivity stakes. When I was finishing my PhD I could churn out a fairly decent 1,500 words a day. That said, I did sacrifice a few things (including personal hygiene), and I think it only right to stay on top of such matters now I’m in a department. (You’ll find I’ve set out a few guidelines in a blog post on AcBoWriMo, as well as suggested the use of a Twitter hashtag, and invited everyone to publicly declare their participation – thus shaming them into definite action).
There have been several blog posts on AcBoWriMo already which I’m excited about, like those by Standardized Teacher, Finds and Features, Read React Review, Girl in Maths – and I love Emily and the Lime’s progress bar, I used to use jumper-shaped ones of these on my knitting blog! Then there’s Narelle Lemon’s great advice post for Teaching TomTom (a site I didn’t know and I’m really glad I’ve discovered). And lookee, AcBoWriMo even made Prof Hacker!
One of the things I wanted when I this suggested project was to focus in on what academic work actually entails. For example, by pushing yourself to make a crazy word target (aside of possibly making that target of course) you’ll be forced to notice a lot about the way you work. Already lots of people are using the Pomodoro Technique, which is timed writing (and well explained by the amazing Thesis Whisperer here), rather than adhering to a word count. I for one hadn’t encountered the method before, so when I loaded Focus Booster and sat down to write, I was stunned how much I got done this way.
I’m also genuinely interested in having an open conversation about academic work and time. What is academia if not the constant feeling that there’s not enough time to get everything done? But what can’t you rush and why? I regularly say how much I love Twitter for the great people and ideas it brings my way, but does it make me forget how to work at a more considered pace? So I’m glad Vacuous Minx raises these issues too and I hope we can open up more of this debate as the month goes on – or maybe afterwards, we do rather have a lot of writing to do!
I’m happy to see though that most people don’t think I’m suggesting an entire quality academic book can be written in a matter of weeks. And, thus far, all those getting involved are (like me) just hoping a month of working extra hard and alongside others will really step-up their productivity.
Thanks everyone for getting into the spirit of this, it’s already bigger than I ever imagined (talking of not having enough time 😉 and I’m really eager to see how it turns out!