How I’m participating in Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo)

Academic Writing Month 2013 starts today and I’m participating this year for the first time. For some reason it passed me by last year, but for the past week my Twitter feed has been filled with people declaring their writing goals and encouraging one another as they gear up for the month-long writing marathon that is #AcWriMo.

The purpose of #AcWriMo is for academics to prioritise writing for the month. One of the things I like about being an academic is that I get (paid) to write a lot. I don’t like the pressure put on academics to publish – what Thesis Whisperer Inger Mewburn calls the academic performance culture – but I love writing and the writing process, so I’m keen to share experiences with others for the month.

#AcWriMo participants are supposed to set and declare goals for the month, make weekly reports (I’ll use Twitter) and declare their results at the end of November. I have 6 goals:

  1. Write and present a paper at the 2013 AAA Meeting in Chicago
  2. Write a review of the film Mr. Pip for Asia Pacific Viewpoint
  3. Attend at least one of the Shut Up and Write sessions organised by my colleagues at Victoria University (#VUWacwri)
  4. Spend two Pomodoros a day, 5 days a week, writing material for publication (I’m part-time at work and have a very active and inquisitive toddler at home so this will be a test for my time management skills!)
  5. Develop the AAA paper into a complete journal article
  6. Start planning the editorial I need to write for a Special Issue of SITES entitled ‘Anthropology and Imagination’

The first two goals will be completed in the next couple of weeks and I will use goals 3 and 4 to help me achieve them. I might not achieve the rest of the goals as I’ll also be marking Honors theses before heading to Chicago then taking 2 weeks’ annual leave after the AAA meeting. I will probably start on goal 5 while I’m on annual leave, as like Anne Galloway I’m keen to try out Inger Mewburn’s strategy for Writing a Journal Article in 7 days. Also, I can never really ‘switch off’ so I’m sure I will achieve a lot of thinking about goal 6 even if I don’t write those thoughts down.

For me participating in #AcWriMo is more about joining an online discussion of academic writing and the writing process than meeting specific goals. I didn’t achieve any of my goals today, for example, but I did spend one Pomodoro doing research for my AAA paper and gave a very short presentation at a seminar on using social media in the classroom at Victoria University (look up #VUWteach on Twitter for live-tweets from the seminar), so I feel like that’s good enough. I will achieve some of my goals and make progress on others and look forward to chatting with others about their progress on Twitter.

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