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Academic Writing Month: Community and progress

One book to complete, another one to start. It must be time for Academic Writing Month! November is almost here, and writers around the world will be looking for tips and encouragement so they can make progress on articles, books, theses, or dissertations. We’ll share strategies, progress, and frustrations using the #AcWriMo hashtag.

Writing is typically a solitary occupation. Even when we are co-authoring, a lot of work is done on our own. And for most of us, the concept of a “book leave” or a sabbatical—undistracted time to focus on our writing—is the stuff of dreams. While we struggle to make sense of our thoughts and interpret research for our readers, life goes on. Dinner needs cooking, partners and kids need attention, and students expect us in class.

At the same time, the world of publishing is changing dramatically. We have more options, from blog posts to social media, podcasts to video. What should research-based academic work look like in these formats? Publishing in scholarly journals is changing too, with new opportunities for electronic, and open access publications that have the potential to reach people from other fields, disciplines, or practice. Books are changing, with movement toward single-topic short books, or media-infused e-books. All this means we not only have to overcome the typical challenges all writers face—we also need to rethink the ways we present our ideas.

AcWriMo gives us a chance to commiserate and celebrate with others who share this path. For the third year, TAA and SAGE MethodSpace will collaborate on AcWriMo information and activities. MethodSpace will focus on the process of writing and publishing texts, reference books or research handbooks, guides, or professional books. TAA will focus on ways to improve in key areas of academic writing.

AcWriMo 2019 on SAGE MethodSpace

Here are some of the events and activities we have planned:

  • New posts on MethodSpace each week, including original writing, interviews, and links to resources.
  • Tips and ideas from Mentor-in-Residence Mark Carrigan, author of Social Media for Academics. The second edition is in press now.
  • A webinar, “Write a Book! From Acquisition to Publication,” will feature an acquisitions editor, a production editor, and an author (yours truly.) Ask your questions! Registration is open now.
  • A series of Tweetchats with TAA’s own Eric Schmieder:
    • 11/1 – AcWriMo Week 1 – Academic precision
    • 11/8 – AcWriMo Week 2 – Academic complexity
    • 11/15 – AcWriMo Week 3 – Academic formality
    • 11/22 – AcWriMo Week 4 – Academic objectivity
    • 11/29 – AcWriMo Week 5 – Academic accuracy

Chats will use the hashtag #AcWriChat. TweetChats will be offered every Friday in November from 11am-12pm ET. (Find your time zone here.) No registration is needed. Simply log into Twitter and look for #AcWriChat.

Join in the events, tell your colleagues and students. We hope AcWriMo will be interesting and useful for TAA members, and an opportunity to welcome other lonely writers to our fold.

Janet SalmonsJanet Salmons is an independent scholar and writer through Vision2Lead. She is the Methods Guru for SAGE Publications blog community, Methodspace, and the author of six textbooks. Current books are the forthcoming Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn from Stylus, and Doing Qualitative Research Online (2016) from SAGE.