November was a hell of a month! Between the last rush of teaching and keeping up with the endless admin that seems to crop up I actually managed to enjoy writing my thesis! When you consider the amount of tasks and responsibilities doctoral level student do, it’s easy to put the PhD aside for ‘later’, which seems like an ass-backward way of approaching doctoral level studies. It’s certainly unproductive and I’ve written before on the other pressures of doing stuff other than your thesis. This past month, however, was certainly an eye opener.
#AcWriMo asks participants to publicly declare a writing goal and track their daily progress on a public document (click HERE for more info). Now, there’s something about telling others about a goal that makes you want to ‘prove’ that you can do it and if anything, it’s about competing with yourself. What I asked myself was “Is this another one of those really good intentions or am I actually serious about doing this?” I found my motivation through telling others about my goal as well as reading about what other people, like me, are wanting to achieve during this month.
It didn’t matter that my goal wasn’t as big/long/crazy as others, it wasn’t a competition. At least I didn’t see it that way! There was freedom in knowing that I could declare my own writing goal and no one was going to say that my goal was wan’t good enough. I had nothing to prove to anyone other than myself. I realised that I was part of a community, regardless of whether I’ve met them online or in person. At least, for a time, the #acwrimo group was working towards meeting their own personal writing goals. Throughout the month I looked forward to reading the daily Twitter updates when people posted what they did that day, and found myself giving and receiving encouragement in the process. When you spend hours alone with your thesis it’s a hell of a kick to read a simple “Well done today!” from a fellow #acwrimo writer. I think that was the real power of #acwrimo, getting people together to help each other work towards meeting their own individual goals. Knowing that I wasn’t alone struggling to make my word count enabled me to keep going so that I could.