Along with academics around the world, I am committing myself to a month of concentrated academic writing in November. The inspiration for this activity, followable on twitter with the hashtag #acwrimo (academic writing month) can be found on PhD2Published. This blog is outlining in a bit more detail than my twitter post what my goals are for the month.
Unfortunately there’s not a lot (read: not anything at all) that I can palm off to other people, and so this writing will be on top of my other commitments. Specifically, the first two weekends of November will be out as I will be marking essays for both of my OU courses – these are first essays for both courses, and in order to manage my time I always aim to mark during the weekend after the deadline. The deadlines for these courses are 31st October and 9th November respectively, so those two weekends are definitely out. I will be doing plenty of academic writing, but it will be essay feedback so I won’t be counting it for #acwrimo, and given that I have around 20 students per course, I am not going to even pretend that I can do some non-OU writing whilst marking 40-odd essays! I know my limits 😀
However, there is plenty of time to be getting on with writing as well! I have next week off work (from 29th October) and will be using the first three days to prepare for writing by doing some reading and NVivo coding/searching (note to self: check that remote use of work PC works for NVivo!). Then the plan is for the Thursday and Friday, 1st and 2nd November, to do a big chunk of a paper which is a proposed conference paper for next year and which I also want to submit to a journal (as an aside, if I carry this off then expect apocalyptic amounts of snow: never before have I written a conference paper 5 months early!). I’m aiming for 3,500 words a day, so 7,000 words which is very ambitious and not sustainable over several days, but I am not at work so if I can get into the groove then it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. The following week, on 5th November I am heading down south for a meeting so have several hours on the train to occupy, so the plan is to tidy up the article then (rather than spend the time gawping out of the window, which is what I always want to do on the train!). The word limit is 7,500 words so hopefully that will be one completed article (first draft but hopefully in a good state) by 5th November. This is a tall order but by putting it down here hopefully I will stick to it!
I’m not planning on doing much writing the rest of that week, although at work I am hoping to run some reports on NVivo which may be used for writing later in the month. I have some work to do with my OU students (plus as already mentioned marking at the end of the week) and I have no intention of neglecting them!
The following week (w/b 12th November) I am hopefully doing more NVivo reports/analysis at work, and in the evenings planning (reading; sorting out quotes) for another article. I want to write the bulk of that article (2,500 words per day) at the weekend, and then the following week (where I am down south for a conference so more train journeys) finish it off. Hopefully my first draft of that article will be around 6,000 words and will be done by 25th November.
The final week of November I want to return to a book chapter I drafted ages ago but which needs quite a lot of editing still. So although these won’t be new words, hopefully by the 30th I will have a version of the chapter that I am happier with than I am at present! Again during the day at work I will be doing more analysis and reports hopefully for my current project.
Re the reports/analysis: I am not sure till I start how much I am going to write for them. I will be doing the analysis with my boss, and this is a new experience for me so I have no idea whether I will end up writing tons or just notes or what. The idea is that these reports (on our individual codes within the data) will form the basis of all our subsequent journal articles, so although there will not be any concrete output from them by the end of November they will hopefully make the job of writing articles from the project much easier beyond November.
I’m wondering if I should also commit to a blog post a week as well?
So, at the moment my commitment to #acwrimo is: 2 finished good first drafts of articles (total words: c13,500) and a revised book chapter (total words: approx 8,000, not all of which will be new but I’m not counting individual new words so the total word count will have to do!), giving a total of 21,500 words. In addition to that, who knows how much writing in reports of analysis of my current project data, and maybe another 2,000 words in blog posts. That sounds pretty productive to me.
Mind you I will probably need to sleep for a month afterwards!