Writing with Others – Shut Up and Write!

Writing does not have to be a solitary activity. You don’t have to be alone, especially during Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo). Writing can be a great way to get together with all of your friends. Shut Up and Write! is a way for writers to share time writing together. With its origins in San Fransisco Bay Area, Shut Up and Write! groups are easy to organize.

Dr. Inger Mewburn from the The Thesis Whisper blog outlines six key points that make Shut Up and Write! groups work:

  • Meet at a regular, pre-arranged time: this means there is no organisational work required and anyone can join at any time. Have at least one person committed to turn up at the assigned time and greet new members. You might want to share this duty with another person so it doesn’t become onerous.
  • Create a contact point for new members. This can be someone’s email, or a social media presence, such as a Facebook page, which acts as a rallying point. Some groups even make posters advertising their sessions and put them up around campus.
  • Keep the writing sprints short. Use the Pomodoro Technique (a pomodoro is a 25 minute stretch of focussed concentration). Between the pomodoros, take as much time as the group would like to drink hot beverages, talk and eat. Have one person willing to act as “Pomodoro chief” who will do time calls (there are many free Pomodoro apps which you can use to keep time).
  • Work on anything, so long as it’s work — transcription, analysis, reading, organising your notes – even email (although we don’t recommend it). No exercises or judgment remember? The only rule is to be silent when everyone else is.
  • Accept that Shut up and Write! is not for everyone. Some people may only come once; others will be regulars. If no one else turns up, Shut up and Write! is almost as much fun on your own (it’s nice to work somewhere other than office every now and then).
  • Remember, it doesn’t just have to be PhD students who do it. Early career academics, professional staff and others need to put time aside for writing too. And it’s the perfect opportunity to create cross insitutional links – be open to people from other universities coming along.

You can find the original post on the Thesis Whisper blog here.

Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely activity, email, MSM, or tweet some friends and Shut Up and Write!

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