It’s that time of year when a lot of academics decide to take on the challenge of Acwrimo – or academic writing month. It doesn’t seem like a year has passed since the last acwrimo and so on this, the first day of the month, it’s time to set some plans for the month ahead.
If you’re not sure what acwrimo involves you can find posts online that will describe the way that novel writing month was adapted for academics by Charlotte Frost. There is also a google doc spreadsheet you can sign up to, although not everybody who participates signs on to the spreadsheet. I just read a tweet today from someone who is keeping a chart for themselves with stars to show when they’ve hit their daily goals. It’s always worth looking at the spreadsheet, particularly if you are a beginner, as it gives you a sense of the kinds of goals people are setting.
I’m a fan of setting goals that are achievable and for me and so that means thinking about what else November holds both personally and professionally. I’ve only just finished teaching and so I have a lot of marking to finish off, I’ve got two writing retreats (one for a research project, one with members of the faculty), a research sharing day and some research interviews to fit in during November. At the start of December I have a research conference to present at, so I need to do some preparation for that during November too. On the home front, I’ve got a lot on as my husband has an injured back which means that apart from the useful home life stuff, I have taken over all the farm work, and as we head into summer there is much to do to ensure the plants are ready to survive the summer heat. This means that when I leave work, I’m unlikely to have much other time to do uni work or writing. Basically it means that the month ahead is going to require careful planning and organization.
How will I fit acwrimo into that you ask? This is why acwrimo at this point is perfect for me. I’ve been starting to let my acwri slide as I’ve hit the busy end of the season, even though I know that it is important to keep in touch with my writing projects each day. Acwrimo will provide the motivation to do that as I can set a goal for myself and I can then tweet my progress to get support from a virtual community of academic writers all engaged in the same thing.
So, here goes, these are my not so grand goals for acwrimo:
1. Finish a paper that has been nearly three quarters finished for the last month. It’s time to set that bird into the air and see if it flies!
2. Write another paper that has been lurking in my brain. Get a good draft done and if possible send it off by the end of the month.
3. Write for at least 30 minutes for at least 5 days a week.
These goals should be achievable and I’m going to borrow the star chart idea and set up my own monthly chart so that I can track my progress. I’m hoping that it will kick start me back into good writing habits!