Using #AcWriMo to develop a daily writing practice – Raul Pacheco

My relationship with #AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month, which happens at the same time as National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, in November) has always been a bit of love and hate.

In 2012, I joined thousands of fellow academics in #AcWriMo, and as expected, it was a bit too overwhelming for me, BUT I did achieve a lot. In hindsight, I think I was trying to write A LOT every single day (at a time when it was not something I did in a structured way), and despite the fact that I wasn’t teaching at the time, I had just left Canada and settled in Mexico and it wasn’t the best idea. But I did produce lots, and lots of text.

In 2013, I didn’t join #AcWriMo, for several reasons. I was teaching (only one class, but it was a new course, and it was really overwhelming), and I travelled to Europe three times during a teaching semester (not the best idea). Plus I am not a big believer in writing in long sprees.

In 2014, I encouraged OTHER academics to join #AcWriMo although I didn’t do it myself. By then, I was already teaching 2 courses in the fall, which basically makes writing for extended periods of time basically impossible for me. 2014 was also the year I almost died twice, from overwork. And my daily writing practice (2 hours a day) was already very well established. So I decided to encourage other people to do it if it works for them.

In 2015, I was so busy that I didn’t even *think* of #AcWriMo. Again, teaching 2 courses and stressed about the results of my three-year reappointment (which I passed, with flying colours if I may be so bold to add).

And in 2016, I am going to encourage people to join #AcWriMo at their own pace so that they can develop a writing practice.

The model of #AcWriMo (at least, the original version that I read) is simple ():

  1. Decide on your goal.
  2. Declare it!
  3. Draft a strategy.
  4. Discuss your progress.
  5. Don’t slack off.
  6. Declare your results.

As I’ve suggested before (and I’m not the only one, Dr. Aimee Morrison and Dr. Jo Van Every have also argued similarly), you can do a lot with 15-30 minutes a day. If you need some advice on academic writing, you might want to read some of my own blog posts on the topic.

To discuss your progress and declare it, you may want to join the #GetYourManuscriptOut crowd.

There are lots of things you can do during #AcWriMo (November):

This year, I won’t be doing #AcWriMo because we are nearing the end of the semester, and I am overwhelmed with a few deadlines. BUT, I will be monitoring the #AcWriMo hashtag and the #GetYourManuscriptOut hashtag to provide encouragement on a regular basis!

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