What is AcWriMo?

Academic Writing Month, or AcWriMo for short, is a month-long academic write-a-thon that happens every November.

Inspired by the amazing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it caters to the specific needs of academic writers at all stages of their career (from undergrads to the most distinguished of professors). It’s hosted by us – PhD2Published – and throughout the month we share dedicated blog posts about academic writing and literally thousands of tips via Twitter and Facebook.

The idea is that you set yourself a writerly goal and get stuck in with all the information, advice and support you’ll get from everyone taking part. The month helps us:

  1. Think about how we write,
  2. Form a valuable support network for our writing practice,
  3. Build better strategies and habits for the future,
  4. And maybe – just maybe – get stuff done!

And if you can get a lot done in November – a busy time for us academics all over – think how easy it’ll be to get your writing done the rest of the year!

How did it get started?

AcWriMo was set up in 2011 by Charlotte Frost (founder and director of PhD2Published) and was originally called AcBoWriMo (Academic Book Writing Month). Charlotte established a set of 6 ‘relatively relaxed’ rules and used this website, our Facebook Page and Twitter (plus the hashtag #AcBoWriMo) to co-ordinate (and cheer on) participants. When the month was over, those involved agreed upon the #AcWri hashtag to continue a channel for focused discussion on academic writing. And following this, PhD2Published managing editor Anna Tarrant was part of the founding team for the regular AcWri live chats. In 2012 we dropped the ‘Bo’ to make the project more inclusive (and so tweets would show up in the regular #AcWri Twitter stream) and we refined the rules/sign-up methods and developed the PhDometer.

How do I join?

There are 6 basic rules:

  1. Decide on your goal. You might count words, hours put in or projects achieved – it’s up to you. But try and push yourself a bit. (And if you need help counting our PhDometer app – the proceeds from which help fund this month-long writing extravaganza – was designed for just that!)
  2. Declare it! Basically, just sign up on the AcWriMo 2015 Sign-Up Form and fill in the sections on what you’d like to achieve by the end of the month. Being accountable is key to this working for you. You need to feel a bit of pressure to get the work done. So sign up and add your goals as soon as you can.
  3. Draft a strategy. Don’t start AcWriMo without doing a bit of planning and preparation. Get some reading done, carve out time slots in your schedule to dedicate to writing, even buy your favourite coffee. Sort out whatever you’ll need to write, and get it done now, there won’t be time when November comes around.
  4. Discuss your progress. OK so being on Twitter and Facebook with us all day isn’t acceptable – you’ve got work to do – but checking-in at certain times is really important! We want to know how you’re getting on? What is working for you and what isn’t? Do you need help? Do you want to share a writing triumph? (You’ll find most discussion about AcWriMo on Twitter using the #AcWriMo hashtag, but if Facebook is more your thing, go there. Or use your own blog to keep in touch. You can even write little updates you want to share in the spreadsheet.)
  5. Don’t slack off. As participant Bettina said of the first AcWriMo, you must ‘write like there’s no December!’ If you push yourself, you’ll quickly discover the tips and techniques that work best for YOU and that’ll save you even more time in the long-run.
  6. Declare your results. It’s great to use the spreadsheet everyday (or as often as you can) to chart how you’re getting on, but even if you can’t do that, you MUST announce your results at the end of the month. Our writing community benefits not only from sharing in your achievements, but knowing what didn’t work and being reminded that, at the end of the day, we’re all human!

We’re doing sign-ups a little differently this year. The wonderful Jenn Lim has managed our public Accountability Spreadsheet for 4 years and every year (as AcWriMo becomes more popular) it becomes a bigger task.

This year we have:

Please note: after you fill in the AcWriMo 2015 Sign-Up  form for the first time you will be taken to a page that says ‘Thank you! Your response has been recorded’ please click ‘Edit your response’ and when you re-enter your own unique form copy the URL in the address bar and keep it safe. This is your own unique link to your progress reporting page. Each time you want to log a day’s progress, click your unique link and submit an update. DO NOT LOSE YOUR LINK WE CANNOT RESUPPLY IT.

What other links might I find useful?

Where can I read more about AcWriMo?

So what’s #AcWri then?

#AcWri is when we drop the ‘mo’ for ‘month’ because every month is an academic writing month. ‘AcWri’ stands for ‘academic writing’ and it’s a hashtag used all year round for people to connect in discussions about academic writing. In addition to that, the hashtag is used by a group of academics who host regular, themed, live chats on Twitter. You can find out more about the #AcWri Live Chats on PhD2Published or head over to the #AcWri hashtag on Twitter.