AcWriMo 2014 is coming! You in?

acwrimo1-01November is nearly upon us and that means it’s nearly time for Academic Writing Month 2014!

For those completely new to “AcWriMo” it’s a month long writing event that academics all over the world can take part in. This event was created by @CharlotteFrost and is run with the help of a group of volunteers (including yours truly). For more detailed information, and to read about the history of this event, head over to PhD2Published blog (click HERE).

During #AcWriMo, this is what you do:

1. Decide on a writing-orientated goal. It should be challenging enough yet realistic in terms of what you think you can accomplish in a month’s time.

Some blog posts related to goal setting:

“Change is as good as a rest” by Rachael Cayley 

“Why I participate in AcWriMo” by Rellypops

2. Go public and declare your goal on the AcWriMo accountability spreadsheet found on this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xkLlO3GqTej52RccKqsHwhf6v4pF2yaRZvywY1KuNtM/edit#gid=0

3. Get organised. Create an action plan that will help you achieve your goal. This may involve scheduling your work day, having smaller goals or just a change of work space. Whatever your goal, get yourself a plan of action.

The following blog posts have some great advice on developing a writing strategy:

“Ladder 1: Rung 1″ by Ellen C. Spaeth 

“Writing accountablility part 1″ by Jennifer Lim 

4.  Keep accountable to others by updating your progress online and/or discussing with your friends (in person or on Twitter) how you’re doing. It’s important not to isolate yourself during this event because there’s loads of support available, but you need to ask and reach out to others.

Some useful blog posts on previous #AcWriMo experiences:

“#AcWriMo Peer Pressure: Time, Challenge/Support & Cheerleaders” by Laura Pasquini

“I did #AcWriMo 2013 and survived to tell the tale” by Elizabeth Lundberg 

“#AcWriMo – Writing ‘with’ a community” by Eljee Javier

New to AcWriMo – What are you reservations? Back for more – what would you do differently? Feel free to comment below. 

Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons user woodleywonderworks

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Isolation activities: thesis writing and running

I’ve been keeping to myself these past few weeks because I’ve needed to really focus on getting this thesis done. Yes, I already had a first draft way back in December 2013, and, truth be told, it was not my best work. I just wanted it out the way. Now, I’ve had to return to the original draft and start the slow process of picking it apart before putting back together. The resulting draft is much more streamlined, focused and something that I’m beginning to feel proud of. It’s been an interesting, yet unexpected switch of emotions. Continue reading

Thesis editing slumps, spring, and running

I’ve been editing my thesis so intensely these past few weeks and I feel rather *ugh*. Actually it’s more like “THESIS EVERYWHERE! CAN’T ESCAPE!”, y’know, that kind of feeling. I can understand now why final year PhD students seems to disappear for months at a time. For me, I’m not quite in the head space to socialise and at the moment I know I am a thesis bore. It’s all I can really talk about nowadays. I sometimes get into a mental slump these past few weeks, because editing is really, really hard. I’ve had to become very strict with my time so that I can focus properly on what I’m doing, but, the end result has been polished, or nearly polished chapters – a very good pay off to my self-imposed isolation.

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New running shoes! After 5 years I thought it was time to replace the old pair. Photo my own via instagram (@eljeej).

That is why I’m thankful it’s spring. The warmer temperatures and the longer daylight hours have helped my mental outlook immensely. I spend most of the day indoors in front of a computer so I do make it a point to go out, everyday, and get some fresh air. For me, this is in the form of running. I used to run more regularly when I lived closer to town, but stopped because my current neighbourhood isn’t ideal, in my opinion, for running alone in the dark (early morning or evening).  During the cooler (and darker) parts of the year I’ve been weight lifting at the gym instead. However, there’s something about being outdoors that makes running more appealing this time of year. So I get out of the house, out from behind my desk, and give myself a physical break from my thesis. This has helped me to stay more positive so that I can keep working.

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