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We’d like to interrupt your AcWriMo with the following announcement…by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse StommelNovember 16th, 2013
This is an interruption to AcWriMo by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel! This weekend they are hosting a virtual flash mob in creative writing. So if you need a break but still want to expand your writing practice, see below for how you can join in…
A virtual flash mob unleashes upon the web (or into a single space on the web) a somewhat coordinated, somewhat chaotic flurry. All too often the work of the web looks nothing like the web, forcing dynamic text into static containers, community into hierarchical forums, and rich experiences into flat content management systems. The classrooms of the web are too often contained, given no room for improvisation, experimentation, failure, and discovery. We are interested, rather, in creating events that push the boundaries of what is possible online, relying on the rich ecosystem of digital space to create things impromptu and unexpected. The democracy of the web is not something it hands to us a priori but something we must take, forcefully if necessary.
Beginning November 15 at 11:59PM Eastern, Hybrid Pedagogy, in association with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, will host a Digital Writing Makerthon. A playful experiment like MOOC MOOC and DigiWriMo, the Makerthon aims to create a text-image-sound hypertext novel written in 48 hours by multiple authors. More than a simple text novel, this novel project will invite all forms of digital media: text, video, audio, animation, graphics, tweets, computer code, etc. As well, the novel will exist in multiple places at once. While the narrative will be primarily housed in one document, writers may choose to use hyperlinks within that document to lead readers willy-nilly across the landscape of the Internet.
Last year during Digital Writing Month, hundreds of writers collaborated to write a novel in one day. This year, we’re raising the stakes, allowing more than just text to fill the page. In true maker fashion, we want story to give way to craft. We’re calling it a makertext — a narrative made into a living artifact.
Digital writing and storytelling is at the center of many online experiments — from DS106 to Phonar to the journal Hybrid Pedagogy itself. In his recent article, Sean writes, “Storytelling has changed. Stories are no longer told to audiences, but by audiences.” Some would say that digital environments, along with the inherently social and collaborative capabilities of platforms like Google Docs and Twitter, have changed the nature of writing, in ways both good and bad, permanently. The Digital Writing Makerthon seeks to explore what happens when writers actively engage with narrative as it is both enabled and deconstructed by digital tools.
The Makerthon will be held from November 15 at 11:59PM EST to November 17 at 11:59PM EST. (Visit World Time Buddy to find out what time we’ll be starting in your time zone.) Writers-artists-makers are encouraged to join for as much time as they can commit during the weekend — be that 15 minutes or 48 hours.
The Makerthon is a collective act of creativity — a massive artistic collaboration — but it is also a demonstration, a gathering place for doers, makers, writers, and thinkers. For more information, and to sign up, visit www.readmake.com, and follow @Jessifer and @Slamteacher on Twitter.
AcWriMo is a month-long academic write-a-thon that happens every November. It’s inspired by the amazing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but 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 run dedicated posts about academic writing and share literally thousands of tips via Twitter.
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 others 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 habits for the future,
4) And maybe – just maybe – get more done in less time!
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 writing done the rest of the year!
So here’s how you get involved….
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 2013 Writing Accountability Spreadsheet 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!
Last year, AcWriMo go so big that we’ve had to change things up a bit for 2013. We’re now excitedly presenting a team of AcWriMoAmbassadors who’ll all be on hand to help you and cheer you on throughout the month! They include:
Anna Tarrant, Charlotte Frost, Eljee Javier, Ingrid Marais, Jennifer Lim, Jodi Campbell, Linda Levitt, Lorry Perez, Melanie Boeckmann, Nadine Levy, PhDForum, Rachael Cayley, Sarah Rowe, Virginia Yonkers
There’s lots on the way, it’s going to be the biggest and best AcWriMo yet!
EDIT. Remember that good writing is about what you take out, not what you leave in.
What else can help your Hackademic writing ? Click here to find out!
FIND INSPIRATION. Look to writers/academics you admire for inspiration. This sounds sappy. I don’t mean put up a poster of an academic superstar and pray to the goddesses of tenure. I mean, look at how their career was built. Find out what their early papers and teaching positions were. Did they write collaboratively a lot at the start before going it alone. What events have been pivotal in firmly establishing them on the map of academia? In short, be a sort of unofficial biographer of someone in academia you hold in high esteem and make sense of some of the steps they took to get where they are. Of course some things happen by chance – right place, right time – and some of it is not what you know but who you know – sadly enough – but you can still learn about strategising your future from their past.
What else does it take to be a Hackademic? Click here to find out!
CREATE A SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM. It’s a good idea to reward yourself when you make lots of progress on whatever writing project you’re working on. Even better, though, is to set up a system where other people reward you for making progress. When Jesse was working on his dissertation, he asked his parents and partner to sponsor his writing practice. His partner gave him $1 / page, his Mom gave him $.50 / page, and his Dad gave him $1 / page and another $1 / revised page). They paid in increments as Jesse hit milestones (like a finished chapter), all in the form of Amazon gift cards, which he mostly used to buy research materials. Over the course of his work, Jesse produced over 300 pages of writing, so he netted over $1000. Getting the money was insignificant, though, when compared to what he really got out of my dissertation sponsorship program, which was a finished dissertation.
For more information on becoming a Hackademic , click here !
HAVE A BIO. Write a concise bio (you might like to take the twitter bio word limit as your guide) and use it across all social media. It’s worth using the same profile picture everywhere too. You can write longer biographies to use for conferences etc but having a nice short one and a good memorable picture mean that people will easily find and remember you online. It’s a little like branding yourself, which sounds icky, but don’t think of it like that. Many of us are really bad at remembering people’s names and faces – let alone now that we live so much of our lives online and don’t always actually meet the person behind the avatar. Help everyone out by always looking and sounding the same online. And when you get to meet people IRL (in real life) who you’ve mostly known only in cyberspace, they’ll recognise you in an instant and feel like they’ve known you for years.
Besides Bio , there some other important tips to be a hackademic.
BE THE BIGGER PERSON. Be receptive to comments and advice on your writing style and content and remember it’s not personal. First, any criticism of your work is just that, criticism of your work, not you. Second, it’s useful. Every bit of feedback you get is information, even if you don’t act on all of it. Try to think about critical comments that seem unduly harsh as badly packaged generosity. It’s better to know as early as possible that your work might be received this way because you can adapt it in advance – depending on whether you agree with their points or not – or steel yourself for possible further criticism. You might also try to think of their input as somehow collaborative. All too often we are urged to see our written work as somehow finished, but really it’s a frozen chunk of an on-going and much more divergent conversation. When someone offers feedback, view your discussion with them as a way of working with them and making the exchange positive for both of you. You might even suggest working on an article together, and learning more about your own work and writing skills through theirs. Or you might go and scream out of an open window and move on because hey, life’s too short!
Maybe this tip can help your hackademic writing as well!
TEACH TO WRITE. We strongly encourage building the interests of your current writing project, where possible, into the syllabi for courses you’re teaching. This doesn’t mean you should teach an entire course to college freshman in the evolution of the North American cave cricket or a senior seminar studying the penmanship in Jane Austen’s grocery lists. On the other hand, you will be more efficient with your project if you create moments of overlap between what you’re writing about and what you’re teaching. Plus, your students will get to benefit from your knowledge and enthusiasm about the project.
Maybe this tip can help your hackademic writing as well!
This blog post by Tamsyn Gilbert (founder of First Five) is part of a series that asks after new forms of scholarship and demonstrates how academic out-put is changing in the digital age.
From blogs like the Thesis Whisperer to Twitter communities like #PhDchat there are a number of ways in which academics are harnessing digital communication technology to support each other and their work within and without institutions. And some are even outright reinventing what academic scholarship might be. We are well beyond the early phase of academic listserves and blogs and into a – perhaps third wave – of digital discourse design.
In this series I’ve invited the people responsible for these types of projects to share what their intentions were when they established them. How their projects have changed the way they (and we, as participants) work, research, share, support and interact with each other as global colleagues. And how they might describe what the emerging skill-sets are and their benefits and pitfalls.
As an idea, it’s pretty simple. First Five is a website that asks theorists, musicians and artists the first five websites that they visit each day and why. The contributors to First Five are people that I have asked to participate. They are the theorists, academics and artists who I am interested in or have influenced my own work in some way. In this sense, First Five is heavily curated towards my interests and research. I am concerned with how these people who are significant to my way of thinking use the web (a space that I use and participate in/with so often) as both a space of function and a knowledge building space.
So what can we read from these websites that these theorists visit daily? Most contributors’ websites include those for research, work, play and entertainment. News websites (The Guardian, The New York Times) are prominent, along with social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr) and then there are usually one or two websites that are ‘unique’ to that person. In a space where there is an abundance of content, economies of attention are crucial, it seems vital to know what websites theorists are spending their time on and why, for at least at one point in time.
In relation to my own work, the instinct to create First Five was to think of it as a time capsule of interests of influential people. For me, First Five acts as an archive of web knowledge, practices and sensibilities. The Internet is not only a space for learning and gaining information, but also sharing it. But what has been interesting about First Five is not only how eager people are to share, but also to learn and form relationships with those that have similar interests. I am not sure what may come from the website, but I am interested in collecting the data, sharing the sites that others visit and learning along the way.
In a more general sense, First Five has taught me how to engage on the Internet, how to communicate with other academics around an idea and the skills that are required to do so (whether through email, or twitter). First Five has shown me what it means to engage with people online around an idea. Although it is my website, I am not the only author. I am simply the curator. The ability to collect information, display and share that information with others and to critique that information are not only useful skills found in web activity, but also for the life of an academic. Further, the website would not exists without the people who are willing to contribute. It is not paid work, these people take their own time and energy to participate in my project. Collaboration and participation are the keywords of the Internet and with this, intellectuals need to understand that these components are essential to the productive sharing of knowledge and acting in this space. I hope by creating First Five I can share just one part of this knowledge.
HAVE AN EMAIL SIGNATURE. Make sure your email contains a short signature detailing your current job and the main place people can find you online. You might even consider regularly updating this signature with a link to your latest piece of work, whether that’s a journal article or a blog post. Just like an online bio/image combo, this consolidates and re-enforces your persona and area of expertise. It is also a way to get your work under the nose of new people whose curiosity in link-clicking will be satisfied in spates.
RELEASE YOUR INNER CRITIC. If you’ve got a lot of writing done, preferably without over-thinking it, it is now time to usefully deploy the critic inside to marshal it into something good. Let your critical side be a bit brutal, chopping irrelevant parts, making substitutions and forming better alliances between sections. It is also important to Hack your time too!