STRUCTURED WRITING RETREATS
These are run by Prof Maggie Andrews for those writing dissertations, post-graduate thesis, HEA Applications and other research. Lunch and Tea and Coffee is provided. Please bring your portable computer with you.
About structured writing retreats
- The aim of a structured writing retreat is to use dedicated writing time to progress writing projects in a supportive, non-surveillance environment. We use most of the time for writing, all of us in the same room. Brief scheduled discussions between writing slots often generate solutions to writing problems, develop drafts, lead to research-orientated conversations and discussions on writing in-progress.
- These have been run very successfully in previous years and at other universities for both academics and students struggling to find the time and space to get on with writing – dissertations, thesis or articles for publication
- The days do not discuss the content/ style or topics people are writing on but just focus on getting people to write – build confidence and get over writers block and begin to get on with their writing in a space without distractions.
- For many people these provide one of the important spaces and places to progress your writing along with a number of other activities.
PROPOSED DATES in 2017 & 2018 for your diary
- Saturday, 21st October CH 2001
- Saturday, 25th November – CH 2003
- Saturday, 16th December – CH 2001
- Saturday, 27th January – CH 2003
- Saturday, 17th February – CH 3003
- Saturday 24th March – MH1004
Spaces are limited and you will find them most useful if you book in advance and plan in advance what your goals are for the day – please book via the staff development portal or email Maggie.firstname.lastname@example.org
A Retreat works best when you:
• Focus exclusively on writing
• Agree not to use internet or other mobile technology in the writing room
• Define specific goals and sub-goals and , planned number of words
• Define and discuss content and structure for writing sub-goals
• Take stock of your achievements of these goals throughout the day
• Discuss your writing-in-progress – mutual peer support.
To prepare for the retreat:
• Decide on what you want to focus on writing
• Review the retreat programme: begin to plan writing tasks for each timeslot
• Do as much of the reading and other preparation you need to do as you can
• Get notes, plans, outlines etc. together. Outline the structure of your project
• Download what you need to your laptop or memory stick.
What to bring:
• Laptop, power cable, any relevant papers or notes, memory stick
Programme for the day
|9:30||Meet with coffee|
|10:00-10:15||Introductions, ground rules and goal setting|
|10:15 – 11:30||Write|
|11:30-11:45||Break and discussion|
|1:00-2:00||Lunch – sandwiches provided|
|3:30 – 3:45||Round up, appraisal and future plans|
Extracts from ‘Write in small snack-size nuggets to avoid choking’
Working in small bursts can be more productive than binge-writing, an expert tells Olga Wojtas
Academics are too prone to “bingeing” when they should be “snacking”, according to an expert on academic writing. Rowena Murray….at the University of Strathclyde, is urging academics to write in short time slots, for as little as half an hour, rather than waiting until they can set aside a huge chunk of time……But Dr Murray revealed the results of three research projects she has conducted on productive academic writing practices, which show that writing in short bursts can be extremely valuable….
“The key thing is that people have to be adaptable in how they write. You can use both snack and binge strategies. There may be fallow or low-output periods.”
Dr Murray also evaluated “writing retreats” that she established. The productivity was dramatic: Dr Murray has found that retreats are even more effective if they are repeated…..
“But knowing that you are able just to write what is on your mind at the time, and then you can go and do something else, was a technique I had never used before. I previously thought, either I can do this in the next three hours, or I cannot do any of it because it’s really hard to get into it.”
“I think now what I would do is put aside time every week – write freely and then review it after.”
Academics testify to the benefits of tackling the task of writing a little at a time “I had a date for the publication of my article, so the snacking did really help, and it was surprising how quickly you could get into it and pick it up again.
“You don’t have to sit for 48 hours writing something up. Do it in half an hour, and plan the time. Commit yourself to a timetable.”…
“Writing had to be fitted in between everything else – kids, family, whatever – and you are just not in the mood to write. So then you just think,’ I will put this off until later.’ “