Friday, 8 November 2013

My problems with AcWriMo

AcWriMo stands for Academic Writing Month.  It came about as an off shoot of NANOWRIMO, which stands for National Novel Writing Month and is basically a challenge to try and write a novel in a month.  AcWriMo was started by Charlotte Frost, and if you'd like to learn more, I recommend going to her blog which you can find here -

Both last year and this year I have signed up to AcWriMo full of good intentions to improve my writing habits and to become more productive.

Last year I gave myself a word count for each day, but I think I ended up giving up halfway through as I wasn't really in the right place in my research to do lots of writing, just finished one project, too much actual research to do for the next one.

So this year, I decided that I would just block out an hour a day for writing.  Any writing e.g. this counts as part of today's hour.  But I can already see myself slipping off the wagon.  So I'm going to try and work out the reasons for this and use my realisation of these to re-new my vigour.

1. New Job - The 1st week of November (Academic Writing Month) has coincided with the first week of my new postdoc.  I think because it's a new job and I've had quite a lot of admin things I had to get done etc. I've not found it easy to say "This is my writing hour".  But a lot of those things are over now, so from Monday 9am-10am is going to be my writing hour and we'll see how that goes.

2. I don't have a paper in need of writing up - I think when I envision AcWriMo I think about having a bunch of research that I've done over the Summer that needs writing up into a paper, spending November doing that, and then submitting said paper at the beginning of December.  Of course the big problem with that is that I don't write like that, I do it as I'm going along, so what I actually have is a half written paper that needs more analysis.  However, this year rather than a word count, I've just got an hour I need to write in.  That leaves a lot of other hours to do research in.  Also, since I'm starting some new projects, there's a whole bunch of literature searching to write up.

3. I find writing in chunks kind of boring - I'm going to try and use pomodoros to get over this one.  It makes it into a kind of game - and games I like.  

Does anyone else have a problem like this, i.e. they find the idea of something like AcWriMo really exiting, but the reality seems like hard drudgery?  Anyone got any ideas of how I can buck myself up?

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