Academic Writing Month: Spring Edition

If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you know that I participated in AcWriMo 2021 (Academic Writing Month) in November of last year. It helped me get an article to the point where I could submit it for publication, and that article is now in the R&R phase. While I endeavor to be more of a regular, consistent writer of academic content, I also see immense value in this kind of sprint-writing especially in order to push a project off your desk or out of your “drawer.” The constraint of time (one month) seems to work well for me even if it is only enforced by myself. If you have a love-hate relationship with your professional writing, putting a time constraint on it might help you – it is easier to get through a *season* of hardship than to contemplate a never-ending period of hardship. One other benefit, I feel, of AcWriMo-style writing is inspiring me to write at all in the two busiest months of the year (for teaching academics). April is most definitely the time of the Squish where my teaching and administrative obligations attempt to fill all available space, so making any time to write feels like a major win.

So in the spirt of “done is better than perfect” and “#getyourmanuscriptout,” I am once again embarking on an AcWriMo writing sprint. I have one major project I’d like to tackle and two smaller ones. My major project is an article based on classes I taught years ago. I have notes for this article, but no full draft and big gaps in related literature. That makes this the perfect kind of project for an AcWriMo sprint. The two smaller projects are CFPs for edited collections I want to manage.

Photo of printed April Calendar with a sticky note that says "#AcWriMo"

As I did last November, I printed a calendar of April and took note of any major obligations that would potentially impact my ability to do academic writing in those weeks. I then assigned a certain number of writing hours to specific days that I thought would be reasonable given the demands on my time. I also estimated how many hours my writing projects would take so I could see if my goals were reasonable given my time constraints. Finally, I put the assigned writing time into my digital calendar so it is a reminder that I have set aside that time for academic writing (and because I use Calendly to make meetings with students and colleagues, this prevent them from booking a meeting with me during those times). I don’t expect everything to go exactly according to plan, but I do hope this approach is at least as successful as it was in November.

Are you planning another writing sprint this semester? What projects do you hope to tackle? Alternatively, if you have other project-driven work to do, are sprints a good method for moving the needle? Why or why not? Leave a comment below.

Stay tuned for more posts this year about teaching, research, and academia. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @litambitions and Instagram: @ecacademic (where I really nerd out about planning). You can also follow this blog (see the email subscribe button on the home page)ALSO, I recently launched a biweekly podcast called Vita Abundantior in which I conduct interviews with awesome women and ask them how they go about living such abundant lives (available on all major streaming platforms).

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