ScholarShape #AcWriMo 2k18

Join me throughout November 2018, Academic Writing Month, for a reflective approach to writing progress

Welcome, Friends!

This Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo), I’m posting short daily videos with reflection questions that I’m using in my own writing practice each day. The questions are designed to spur deep thinking about the substance, structure, and significance of a writing project. The questions can help clarify what a project is really about and how best to communicate it to readers.

I’m posting each day’s video on my blog the night before, and then during the day, I’m writing my own response to each question in the comments below the blog post. You’re invited to use the questions in your own practice however is most useful to you. At the bottom of this page, you can sign up to receive a link to each day’s reflection question via email.

Here are the videos that have been posted so far:

When you scroll down to the bottom of this page to sign up for the daily emails, you’ll also find a video I made a week before this challenge, where I confess the top reason I think you may want to join in this exercise with me. Feel free to join it at any point during the month.

Some Background

While I think these reflection questions will be most useful to writers who already have a broad sense of what their project is about in relation to the literature, and who have already generated a lot of words, the questions can be used by any writer at any point in the writing and revising process.

This exercise is unlike other approaches to #AcWriMo, in that it is not about pursuing quantitative goals like writing a set number of words, writing for a set amount of time, or hitting a certain deadline. Those kinds of goals are important, especially when you’re in a phase of your project that you need to write a lot just to discover what you think, or you have a strong plan and outline for what you need to write. But ScholarShape AcWriMo2k18 is less about pursuing quantitative goals based on word quotas, time logs, and deadlines, and more about pursuing an intangible intention: we aim to make the kind of deep conceptual progress that is hard to measure and hard to brag about on Twitter, but indispensable to producing writing that will ultimately be powerful and compelling for the reader.

If you’re in a phase of your project where quantitative goals make sense, you can use these reflection questions as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, those goals. And no matter where you are and what you’re working on, I hope these questions will feel profoundly centering and energizing in the midst of a long, often lonely process of writing and revising.

How it works

Throughout the month — whether you join in on Day 1 or 29, and whether you participate every day or only sporadically — I invite you to reflect on the questions you find most useful, in the way you find most useful. Here are some ideas:

  • You could write about the question in your journal

  • You could discuss the question with friends or writing partners (be sure to invite them to sign up too!)

  • You could tweet your reflections on the question, using the hashtag #AcWriMo or #AcWriMo2018

  • Or you could share your response in the comments to the blog post, which is what I'll be doing!

You can sign up below to get each day’s post delivered to your email inbox. Note that this #AcWriMo email list is separate from my Working Thesis Newsletter email list, so if you want both, you need to sign up separately.

I hope you’ll join me for this experiment in forging an approach to writing and revising that integrates a bit more gentleness, reflectiveness, and dare I say fun — without sacrificing rigor or substance. (BTW, here’s why I focus on asking writers questions instead of giving advice.) I promise this whole thing is not some ploy for me to get your contact info so I can send you a million emails about my expensive coaching program or membership site because I don’t have anything like that to sell. I’m just a girl sitting in my apartment in Durham, North Carolina, working on writing a book and hoping some people will want to think and write alongside me.

One last thing…

If you want to hear what *I* think is the number one reason to join in this #AcWriMo experiment, check out the video below. I made it a week before #AcWriMo began, right after announcing this project. ;)

Margy Thomas, Ph.D., founder of ScholarShape

How to turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen.