#AcWriMo is once again almost here! #AcWriMo is Academic Writing Month, and it’s based on the concept of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which challenges participants to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. #AcWriMo is run by Charlotte Frost at PhD2Published.com and you can find out all about it, including details of how to sign up, HERE.
When you first sign up to #AcWriMo, you are asked to declare your goals for the month, and set out a (brief) plan, and these are then publically posted on the Accountability Spreadsheet for all to see. If you scroll down the spreadsheet to line 91* you will see that my goal for this #AcWriMo is:
Submit finished book manuscript (aim = November 14)
Start working on Fellowship proposal
Start working on Book no. 2 proposal
(Edited to add: Also, to blog about my research and #AcWriMo, goal is 1 blog post per week)
And my plan is:
Write every day (including weekends). Time/words not important - quality more important.
But I wanted to say a little bit more about what I want to achieve this November, how I am going to hopefully do it, and why I like #AcWriMo (although I’m terrible at filling in the accountability spreadsheet, this will by my third year!)
So: what do I want to do?
Finish my book! I had originally planned to already have the manuscript in now, but things don’t always go as you plan in the world of #acwri, and this certainly has not! When I first started thinking about turning my PhD into a monograph** I didn’t envision adding as much new material as I have ended up adding. My planned ‘half a chapter’ of new stuff has turned into two chapters of new and old-but-significantly-re-evaluated material. I think I am very close to finishing all of this off, and I am aiming to submit the manuscript on November 14th. That’s my mum’s birthday, the 12-month anniversary of my viva, and also falls during Academic Book Week. This will be my top priority for work and writing for the first two weeks of #AcWriMo.
Work on my Research Proposal! Like pretty much everyone else I have an idea (that I think is pretty good) for the next major research project. While I have done a lot of work on my proposal in the last 9-ish months, I think there is always room to do some more, to edit bits into different length-and-intensity sections for different kinds of proposal applications. I have two main fellowship applications that I want to make a start on, including getting a short-form email-ready version of the project done. This will be the top priority for the third week of #AcWriMo.
Work on my (next) book proposal! I have been talking to an editor about this project recently, and I am quite excited about it. This book will stem much more directly from my PhD/first book than the ‘next big project’, and I have done much of the preliminary, background research already. While getting the actual book together will take some time, I think it’s well within my capability to get it done! This will be my top priority for the final week of #AcWriMo.
On top of that, I want to blog at least once a week about what I’m doing, and maybe also about some interesting tidbits of research. I am planning a Halloween post, which I think (as a scholar of Underworld gods!) it would be remiss of me not to do!
As for my plan… looking though the Spreadsheet you’ll notice that different people include very different amounts of detail in their plan, and mine is probably one of the simpler ones. I know that I don’t work well under word-pressure (that is, a target of words written), and while I tend to meet the target it’s more likely that those words will be not-as-good-as-they-could-be. I don’t mind working to a time-target, but my timetable is such that it’s impossible to set a general ever-day time-target – I can manage nearly a full day of writing on Mondays, for example, but I teach for four hours on a Friday. So I am just going simple. Write. Write every day. Quality over quantity.
And, that’s it – that’s how I hope to achieve the things I have set for myself this #AcWriMo! If you’ve got some academic writing to crack on with, why not consider signing up too!
* I’m assuming that the lines are fixed by the date and time you sign up, and don’t shift around…
** I mean thinking seriously about the ins and outs of the thing, because who doesn’t think about turning their PhD into a book in the very first week of their PhD?!? (Assuming you’re in a book field, that is).
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