Browsing the archives for the #acwri tag

Weekly wisdom: tips and tweaks #9 by Linda Levitt
Posted by Linda Levitt

Diorama_-_19_(8126284371)Start now. The new year is approaching, and many of us are motivated to make resolutions and set goals for 2014. Oftentimes, we find ourselves disappointed when resolutions come up short. Setting a goal is only the first step in investing in your research and writing: remember that it takes time to develop a habit. Take these two weeks before the new year begins and start developing your routine and habit for whatever you aspire to in 2014. By January 1, it will already be familiar to you.

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Weekly wisdom: tips and tweaks #8 by Linda Levitt
Posted by Linda Levitt

Diorama_-_19_(8126284371)Set tiny tasks. Put a very small task related to writing on your to do list for the day. It’s the guilt-killer: once you get the tiny thing done, you can alleviate your sense of dread that another day might pass without making progress on your writing. Even better, the sense of accomplishment for doing one small thing can compel you to do more. Once you get started, you might end up spending even more time working.

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Weekly wisdom: tips and tweaks #4 by Linda Levitt
Posted by Linda Levitt

Diorama_-_19_(8126284371)Find some new music. If there’s one space of disagreement among preferences for the writing environment, music and background noise might top the list. A friend who grew up in a noisy household takes her laptop to a bowling alley. Another insists on getting as close to silence as possible. Still another puts on Spanish-language television, even though he’s rather monolingual. The dialogue stops the mind wandering and provides a rhythm without distraction. A few other options: very familiar music you listen to all the time can be evocative (in the days of audiocassettes, I had a mix tape that I named “sanctity songs”). Consider classical, jazz, or electronic music. No lyrics, less distraction. Folk, country, or opera may also suit you. See where the music might take you. A variety of wind chime apps are also available for iPhone or Android. If you prefer, noise cancelling headphones are also widely available.

For more Linda’s tips , Click here!

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Magic time: Planning to get things done at times when the magic happens by T. Davies-Barnard
Posted by T Davies-Barnard

Cinderella timeI never thought I’d say this, but I have something in common with Cinderella. Not the puffy dress, or the glass shoes. Just that  before 12 o’clock is when the magic happens. Obviously my 12 o’clock is noon, and hers was midnight, but let’s not dwell on details.

I’m going to suggest that you have a period of the day when the magic happens and that you need to figure out when it is and make sure you make the best of it. A bit like Cinderella did. Because all time isn’t equal. For Cinderella, everything after 12 o’clock wasn’t worth much – certainly not as much as time before 12 o’clock. Similarly, everyone has times when the work comes easily and times when work is a euphemism for having a word document open behind facebook. Identifying when the valuable time is, so that it isn’t squandered, is really important.

For me the most valuable time is 9 in the morning till midday. I’ve properly woken up and I haven’t yet gotten distracted by lunch. But maybe yours is 7pm till 10, or 2pm till 6pm. When are you at your best? When is it easiest to stay focused?

I’ve learnt recently that if something has to be done, it needs to be done in that magic time. Therefore writing goes into that slot. Not
browsing the internet. Not faux work activities either (emails, conference schedule planning, marking etc.). Only things that are
research and need focus. Why not try for a few days only putting in your magic time things that directly contribute to you publishing a paper or completing the thesis?

The great thing is that this is a quick way to prioritise your day. Figure out when your most productive bit of the day is, then put the
most key thing you need to do in a day in it. Simple. The dregs, emails and lost shoes will still be there when you’re done with the
important things.

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#AcWri Twitter Chat: Finding Time to Write During Busy Periods
Posted by rcayley

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#acwri Twitter Chat: Academic Writing for Part-time Students and Researchers
Posted by rcayley

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#acwri live chat 24.01.13
Posted by atarrant

The #acwri live chat this week focused on the value of Twitter for supporting academic writing. Some of the key Tweets from the discussion can be viewed below but the following briefly summarises the discussions.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a lot of support for using Twitter to help with academic writing. Those who took part in the chat are established Twitter users and already use the #acwri hashtag to discuss writing. However the reasons why Twitter is considered useful were more varied and may even persuade the novice Twitter user to give it a try. People like that it can be used to link to informative resources (such as blogs), that it challenges them to write concisely and to break down key messages. They also like that it is accessible and facilitates a network of individuals from diverse backgrounds, all who share an interest in academic writing. They also think that it helps to improve their other forms of academic writing.

There was also a critical discussion about the value of Twitter for academic writing. Some discussed lacking confidence in Tweeting opinions and points and felt that being accountable was important. Others discussed the challenges of negotiating and presenting identity through Tweeting. It was felt that disagreeing with people’s points was more difficult. It is much easier to agree with others through this medium, possibly limiting debate.

Finally, not included here, was a discussion about how the use of social media continues to be blamed for the poor writing styles and writing abilities of students. A summary of this discussion will be posted soon.

 

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Summary of the first #acwri live chat of 2013; Thursday 11th January
Posted by atarrant

In the first #acwri live chat of 2013 we talked about a range of things relating to academic writing. Much of the discussion was focused on making plans for the year to come in the form of New Years Resolutions, but from this, lots of interesting tips emerged in relation to how to make 2013 the most productive academic writing year yet. As well as declaring New Year’s Resolutions and plans, we discussed a range of practical tips that can help to improve writing and increase motivation, suggestions were made about how to make the most of a sabbatical and there was also a short discussion about where best to make notes for writing. A selection of the Tweets from the chat are included below:

 


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PhD2Published at the Society for Research into Higher Education Conference 2012
Posted by atarrant

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of representing PhD2Published at the Society for Research into Higher Education Conference 2012. I am taking part in a symposium organized by Professor Pat Thompson of the Patter blog called ‘Feral spaces? Social media as higher education practice: Blogs, wikis, and twitter feeds with a pedagogical intent’. Pat herself will be talking, as will Andy Coverdale, a PhD student at Nottingham Trent University, UK and Dr Jeremy Segrott, my Acwri partner in crime. In the paper I am presenting, I will talk about the online participatory culture that has been created by feral spaces such as PhD2Published and that is representative of a now well-established online academic movement that is shaping new practices of knowledge production. Being online has created feral spaces like PhD2Published that are borderless and unregulated and that bridge social differences and disciplines. I reflect on this and how this movement is transforming academic knowledge production by creating a community of ‘prosumers’ (or the wonderful academics who write blogs, or share news, knowledge and ideas via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook). I will explore the role of PhD2Published in generating pedagogical content concerned with academic publishing from the perspectives of an expert community of academics of different career stages and will argue that PhD2Published is a unique platform that can be used by its Managing Editors (currently me) to engage in this participatory culture, with the guidance of its founder Charlotte Frost, to reskill and share expertise. I will also reflect on my own involvement with PhD2Published and the way in which it has allowed me to respond to the fast paced, ever-evolving and increasingly competitive academic environment.

I will report on the outcomes of the symposium when I return,

Anna

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Announcing AcWriMo!
Posted by Charlotte Frost

Remember AcBoWriMo, last year’s experiment in a month-long writing productivity drive? Well, it’s back, bigger and better than ever – but without the ‘Bo’!

The idea hails from NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) an initiative designed to turn the whole of November into a month-long write-fest for current or would-be novelists. The idea is that you set yourself the task of writing 50 thousand words in November alone and bingo, you’ve got yourself a whole big chunk of novel!  In 2011 I decided academics should give something similar a go and, I can happily report, it went brilliantly!

For AcBoWriMo, I invited people to join me in wearing comfy clothes, drinking a lot of coffee, napping at strange times and seeing how close we could each get to writing 50 thousand words. I admitted at the time that it was an insane target, but that it wasn’t the word count that was the point. Rather, it was a bid to gather people together for mutual support in the, at times, painfully difficult and soul-crushingly lonely task of academic writing. In the last year alone, I’ve watched with awe and excitement as so many academic communities have grown and expanded on social media platforms like Twitter (examples include #phdchat, #ecrbook, #digped, #fycchat with plenty more to be found here). Not to mention that our own AcBoWriMo off-shoot (and collaboration with Jeremy Segrott), the regular live Twitter chat on academic writing, #AcWri, has co-ordinated a huge amount of valuable discussion. Nice work Anna and Jeremy!

So I decided it was worth giving it all another go – with some revisions…

This year’s event will focus on ALL aspects of academic writing, and will encourage participants to set their own (wild) goals. As a result of that, and the strength of the AcWri community, it will be called AcWriMo. Just like Craig David, I copped some flack for the ‘Bo!’ part. Although I never intended to promote the idea that an entire academic book could be written in a month, by calling the event Academic Book Writing Month, it seems I over-emphasised that part. But we still want you to join in on setting yourself some unrealistic targets and fighting alongside us to achieve them.

So, here are the rules for #AcWriMo 2012

1. Set yourself some crazy goals. Try and come up with some outcomes that would really push you beyond anything you ever thought possible. I always said 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 and that’s just bonkers) but if you’re bonkers, go ahead and set that target. Otherwise, think about how much you are comfortably able to write a day and set yourself the task of regularly exceeding that amount. If you can manage 300 words a day then we want 400, if you can do 1000, then we want 1500 – something like that. Last year, a lot of people preferred setting themselves a time-based goal. They would try to write for so many hours a day or week and often used the Pomodoro technique to count units of productive time. If that’s your thing, go for it! How about sneaking in an extra Pomodoro a day? Or, look at all the writing tasks you’ve got to achieve over the next few months and decide to get a set amount of them done in November. In the US it’s job season, so how about you count your job-letter-writing-time. Or article drafts maybe?

2. Publicly declare your participation and goals. You can do this by adding to the comments of this very blog post, by tweeting using the hashtag #AcWriMo, or by writing on our PhD2Published Facebook page. Being accountable is key to this working for you as a way to push yourself, but if you want to silently take part, at least tell a friend who is likely to hold you to it. [edit: you can now also add your goals to and keep track of your progress with Jenn's AcWriMo Accountability Spreadsheet - thanks Jenn!]

3. Draft a strategy. This is essential if you’re going to make a success of this. Sitting down to write without preparation is the first step towards being struck down with writer’s block. We’ll be blogging and tweeting lots of ideas to help you, so before you start, work out a strategy for how you’ll tackle your set tasks. For example, establish 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 planning everything from comfy clothes to reading sessions.

4. Discuss what you’re doing. 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 imperative! We want to know how you’re getting on? What is working for you and what isn’t? We want you to tell us all if you need help with something but also to celebrate your successes with us too. And nothing is TMI when it’s AcWriMo because that’s the point: sharing!

5. Don’t slack off. As participant Bettina said of AcBoWriMo, you must ‘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 all!

6. Publicly declare your results – and please be honest! As a writing community, we’ll all benefit from sharing in your achievements, but it is also good to see what works and what doesn’t. And if you don’t make your targets, you’ll still be achieving the selfless goal of making the rest of us feel more normal – so it’s a community win/win really.

We’re raring to go, we hope you are too?! :-)

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#acwri live chat summary. Using Twitter for academic writing. Thursday 20th September 2012
Posted by atarrant

This week the #Acwri live chat was all about using Twitter for Academic Writing. This chat was well attended and lively and encouraged a lot of discussion. A written summary of the chat can be read in todays post but if you would like to read the chat in full, which includes the key Tweets from the discussion, you can view them on Storify.

The conversation started with some reflection on why academics are using Twitter. Responses ranged from finding relevant communities of practice, keeping in touch with people efficiently and quickly, keeping networks alive, reaching a bigger audience, making connections across space and between groups, to be social, to find out about things and stay up to date, to share #acwri outputs, and to be at the intersection of multi-disciplinary conversations relevant to individual work. These responses indicate the diversity of reasons for using Twitter as an academic.

Others also consider it good for practicing concise writing (in only 140 characters), setting goals and asking questions. One user even argued that they use Twitter as a way of keeping notes (@strictlykaren).  This led to some discussion about using Twitter to link to other content, such as blogs, where discussion can continue elsewhere.

A significant thread of conversation in the early stages of the chat was that many enjoy live Tweeting from conferences, but also have some concerns about it. People question when it is appropriate to do it and how often, during a talk for fear of taking over Twitter feeds.

Challenges with Twitter writing were also explored. Errors in spelling and grammar were commonly discussed. One Tweeter felt that tweets were less coherent and bitty, rather than an argument (@spani3l). Some did not like when people swear and rant, and others dislike when individuals write lots of Tweets one after the other. @helen_kara responded to this well saying “Don’t drink (much) & Tweet”. This led to a conversation about how Twitter is used. Many use it semi-professionally or professionally. Consequently developing an academic identity on Twitter is important. Many are aware of the public nature of Twitter content and therefore the need for appropriate conduct. There was a difference in opinion about using Twitter only for professional discussion and sometimes for including more casual talk. An interesting distinction was made between the use of Twitter for work and Facebook for personal interaction.

The conversation ended with some discussion of the use of G+ (Google Plus) rather than Twitter for academic writing and communication. Conversation was described as much more natural and substantial on G+, despite the fact that less academics are currently using it than Twitter. There is some resistance to being on another social network but @spani3l likes the fact that it can be used for multiple tasks such as video conferencing and having more sustained conversations.

What are your opinions on using Twitter for academic writing? Does anyone have any experience of G+?

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Vote for this week’s #acwri topic here
Posted by atarrant

Do you have a Twitter account? Are you interested in all things academic writing? Have you got any questions or concerns about your academic writing that you want some advice about? If any, or all of these questions apply to you why not take a look at the #acwri hashtag on Twitter? Making great use of the tag is a burgeoning community of writers all discussing their writing goals and ambitions, trails and tribulations. You can get great advice from individuals at all career stages about academic writing and really benefit from sharing your own experiences. To find out more about the #acwri initiative take a look at our Live Chat page.

As part of #acwri we also run a fortnightly live chat and the next one is taking place on Twitter this Thursday, 20th September, at 8pm UK time. Please do come along and take part. We like to ensure that the #acwri community has some say in what we discuss and you can now vote for your preferred topic in the Tweet Poll below. The topic that receives the most votes will be the one we discuss on Thursday.

If you can’t make it to the chat don’t despair! We also write a summary of each chat that is posted to this site so you can still benefit from the collective learning. You can check out previous chats now in the Live Chat tab Archive.

Hope to see/meet you soon!


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#Acwri Twitter chat, 19th July: why do we write?
Posted by atarrant

Today’s summary of our #acwri Twitter live chat is all about why academics write, and not just because we have too! The idea of the chat topic was to encourage the community to really think about the reasons for writing as a way of motivating us but also having an open and frank discussion about the things we write and the ways we disseminate our ideas. This resulted in a great discussion, of which the key points are listed below:

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#acwri – making plans by Jeremy Segrott and Anna Tarrant
Posted by atarrant

It’s five months since we started #Acwri, and this week we took some time to think about what it’s achieved and how it could be developed in the future. 

For those of you who don’t know much about #Acwri you can read about us here.  But in a nutshell, the aim is that once a fortnight, we invite academic writers at any stage of their career to discuss a particular aspect of the writing process.  The aim is to share problems, ideas and solutions, and provide a supportive peer network. So far we have discussed a range of topics including writing journal articles, writing conference papers and writing research proposals. The summaries from these talks are posted on both PhD2Published and Jeremy’s website.

The group seems (from our perspective) to be meeting the aims we set out with, and we’re proposing to continue running the group every two weeks without any major changes.  But we have a few ideas about how to make it run slightly better, and would welcome your thoughts and ideas.

One change we’ve already made is to create a dedicated @acwri Twitter account that you can follow, which we’ll use to publicise our meetings, chair the discussion, and spread awareness of the group. This should hopefully help give #Acwri a clearer, more visible identity.

Our meetings will continue to be on alternate Thursday evenings, but we’re going to change the time from 6pm to 8pm, to make it easier for UK folks to join in, as the current 6pm start clashes with many people’s evening commute and family commitments.  Do let us know what you think!

Over the summer we’ll be meeting on 2nd August, 16th August, and then taking a break until Thursday 6th September.  The 16th August meeting will be an ‘open house’ – a chance for anyone to share what they’re writing about, problems/challenges they’re facing, and tips on how to keep the motivation and the writing going over the long hot summer.

For all our other meetings we’ll be taking on a particular theme.  We need people to suggest the kinds of things they’d like to discuss.  From these ideas we’ll create a poll with a choice of topics for each meeting, and the most popular one wins.  We’ve used this system for some of our previous chats, but it will now be something we try to do for every #Acwri session.

The two of us @DrAnnaTarrant and @DrJeremySegrott will continue to take turns at chairing the sessions and summarising the discussion on our websites (Dr Jeremy Segrott and PhD2Published), but we’ll also invite the winner of the topic poll to kick off each session by telling everyone why they chose the subject, and highlighting some of the key points they think are important.

Plans are also afoot to set up a parallel #Acwri group for Australia and Asia, as the current #Acwri group takes place in the early hours of the morning there.

Let us know what you’d like #Acwri to discuss, and any other ideas about how we should develop the group.

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