The (relatively relaxed) Rules of AcBoWriMo
Posted by Charlotte Frost

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/3937933747/

1. Decide upon a target word count. Try and make this something that would really push you beyond anything you ever thought possible. Admittedly, 50,000 words is a bit of a nutty goal for academic writing in one month. It works out at something like 2,500 words a day. But hey, as a project, AcBoWriMo is still very much in the trial stages and we can at least try right? As many of you have said, think of how great you’ll feel if you even come close to your crazy goal! It’s okay if numbers aren’t your thing. Just set a productivity goal of another kind.

2. Declare your participation and target word count (or productivity goal) publicly. You can do this by adding to the comments of the AcBoWriMo blog posts on here, on Twitter using the #AcBoWriMo hashtag, or on the PhD2Published Facebook page. If you want to be really private about it, maybe just tell a friend who will hold you to it (although we’d rather you shared your commitment and progress with us, we want to do this together).

3. Draft a strategy. There will be lots of posts throughout November helping you work out the best way to approach this, but try to have your own plan from the beginning. Work out how much you’ll need to write a day, and on which days you can definitely do this. Offload as much other work as you can, and get in some supplies (we recommend stocking up on decent coffee of course). Think about how you work best and adopt that approach from the start. This means everything from comfy clothes to reading and then writing, or writing as you go along – whatever works!

4. Discuss what you’re doing. OK so being on Twitter and Facebook with us all day isn’t acceptable, but checking-in in times of need absolutely is! Tell us how you are getting on. Tell us if you need help or share what’s working. We’ll all be doing it together so let’s keep each other motivated and use this month as a quick way to generate lots of ideas about how to be productive.

5. Don’t slack off. As participant Bettina says, AcBoWriMo means that we all ‘write like there’s no December!’ But guess what? If you work super hard now, there’s going to be more December to go round. Remember how December usually creeps up on you and suddenly its Christmas Eve and you’ve failed to buy gifts or take time out for yourself. Well, if you put the work in now, there’ll be so much December you won’t know what to do with it!

6. Declare your final word count – and be honest! As a writing community, it’ll help all of us to know what’s achievable. If you don’t make your target, we’d like to suggest you make a donation to charity. We can’t of course enforce this, but at least that way you get to feel good whether you make your target or not! If you do make your word count, then academic glory is yours (as well as anything else you feel you deserve by way of a treat)

Charlotte Frost. Posted by Charlotte Frost

Art & technology broadcaster/academic & glamour puss. Founder of Arts Future Book & PhD2Published.com. Provost International Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

16 Comments Posted in Writing
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16 Comments

  1. ok, sooo…
    The plan is to reach 40 000 words by the end of November (I counted long and hard, and those last 10 000 are just not doable with all the teaching…):
    1. a 3000 words review
    2. a 5000 words article
    3. 12 000 of the dissertation (2 chapters, I guess)
    I assume I’ll have to write twice the initial word count and then revise and throw away half of it – that’show it usually works with me.

    Puh! That means about 1800 words every weekeday. It’s almost twice as much as my usual output, so I’m really counting on Phd2Published articles & the spirit of competition to help me fight through it :) I’ll be checking in on Twitter and in my blog; no cheating, no slacking off!

    Good luck, everyone!
    @coocho

  2. Mary Daniels Brown

    OK, I’m definitely in. I have general goals rather than specific word counts, at least for the first few days:
    (1) research journals for potential placement of article based on my dissertation
    (2) research creation of ebooks
    (3) decide on how to structure my ebook on reading

    I will try to figure out more specific writing goals after I get this stuff figured out.

  3. Here’s my plan: a complete diss draft by the end of this month. I have about 2 chapters worth already but they need work and I have three more. All told, 33,000 or 1,500 words per weekday.

    I can’t believe I’m doing this.

  4. I’m at a slightly earlier stage in my academic career, but I know that working this kind of moral support will be a huge help! So, my writing goals for November are:
    1) 25,000 words
    2) Revise and submit an article I’ve been working on
    3) Book proposal drafted

  5. I’m going for a different version of AcBoWriMo.

    The aims are:

    To write 35 000 words, which will result in a completed draft of my third chapter of my thesis, and a first draft of a journal article I’ll be submitting in January.

    Got my plan all figured out – scheduled myself to write either 1500 or 2000 words a day.

    Will be relying on Twitter to get me through this! I’m @Annakabana, by the way :)

    GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!

  6. Hey, I’m in. And, I just started a Twitter account for the first time for this thing, so IT’S SERIOUS. My goal for November is to finish and revise chapters 2, 3, and 5 of my dissertation. From today through the 9th, I’m going to work on 2. From the 9th – 16th, I’m working on 3. From the 17th – 20th, I’m at a conference and won’t be doing anything except running around schmoozing and giving a talk I’ve already written. From the 21st – 26th, I’m working on 5. From the 27th – 29th I’m working on another presentation on the 29th. I’m gonna post goals for each day and then post at the end of the day whether I met those goals or not. IT IS ON.

  7. It’s on. This seems like it could be amazing or a train wreck. Either way, it’s way more fun than just spending my time obsessing over my dissertation without any concrete deadlines. At the very least, missing deadlines will make me feel like an even bigger martyr than usual. So, here’s what I have to do (ranked from easiest to “do-not-attempt” extreme):

    Book Review Due — 1000 words
    Conference Paper Due — 3000 words
    Chapter 2 – 20,000 words
    Chapter 3 – 20,000 words
    ——————————
    Total of 44,000 words. Subtracting some conference time when I’ll be frantically introducing myself to as many senior scholars as possible (and continuing this deadline until December 7), I’m left with 28 days. That’s just about 1500 words each day. Okay, I’ll try that. I’m figuring that of the 20,000 words for each chapter, I’ll eventually end up cutting about a quarter as unusable. But, before cuts, 20,000 each.

    Good luck to ya’ll.

  8. This is exactly what I need, and the public aspect is fantastic!
    These are my writing goals for November:

    1. 1200 words for cover letter
    2. 200 words for abstract
    3. roughly 12000 words for chapter 7 of dissertation
    4. roughly 12000 words for chapter 3 of dissertation

    So this is not 50,000 words, only about half that much, but these goals are realistic for me, and I think will keep me plenty busy since there’s some other work that I’m just not able to “offload” (so lame).

  9. Starting a bit late (6/11) but looking forward to try to reach the goal of 36 000 words by the end of the month. This is c:a 2000 words for every weekday. I will need to use the weekends to catch up to the days when real life work interrupts the writing. But there is definitely no time for writers block!

    Its all going towards the same end – a book on identity online and exists so far only as a mind map.

    Great idea Charlotte! Good luck everyone!

  10. teachingprofwkids

    Thank you Doc Frost for the excellent idea and the web pact.

    With a week already gone, I’m in for a hybrid article/book proposal/new section of book chapter variant:

    1. Write up results of ongoing research into submission by Nov. 29 that “should not exceed 8,000 words”
    2. Write that new chapter proposed in that book proposal’s TOC 2.0 10,000 new words
    3. Complete fuller revised version of book proposal for Univ. press, in the range of 4,000 words
    ***(I already have a book MS in hand, but I want a contract to motivate further revision).

    If no one gets seriously ill and the grading gets done, I have a shot at completing these 22,000 words.
    Happy writing everyone!

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