Goal Post by Richard SpencerGoal Post © Copyright Richard Spencer (More information)


I’ve just signed up for AcWriMo – Academic Writing Month*.

AcWriMo is loosely based on NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – which has taken place each November since 1999.  NaNoWriMo pretty much does what it says on the tin; participants attempt to write a 50,000 novel during November.  A pretty tall order, you might think, but an awful lot of people take part, and an awful lot of those manage the 50k words.

AcWriMo is a little different.  It started last year as AcBoWriMo (Academic Book Writing Month), and also involved a commitment from participants of 50,000 words.  (I don’t remember hearing about it last year, but if I had I wouldn’t have signed up because I can’t imagine even attempting to write 50,000 words of my PhD in one month!)  This year it’s more flexible – participants can commit to whatever goals are most appropriate for them, including non-writing goals, though we are encouraged to push ourselves beyond what we think we can do!  Apart from that, the rules are simple: set your goals, declare your participation, make a plan, talk about it (not all the time, obviously, but post regularly on Twitter and Facebook to share the experience), work hard, and be honest about your AcWriMo success (or otherwise).

My ultimate goals are to write 10,000 words, preferably all for my quantitative results chapter, and to have done 30 hours of interview transcript coding.  But I have also (thanks to the handy Academic Writing Accountability Google Doc created by Jennifer Lim (@mystudiouslife on Twitter)) given myself the daily aim of doing at least ten tomatoes (or Pomodoros) on each weekday, and at least 8 over a weekend.  This means that I can also include the time taken to analyse my quantitative data before I write about it.

In a lot of ways November is not a good month for me to be doing this: I am away until the 5th for a family celebration, and again from the 28th for a conference; there is a marking deadline in the middle of the month, and I’m expecting quite a lot of assignments to mark; and I’ve just found out that I have a job interview on the 12th (about which I’m currently at 75% “Yay interview!” and 25% “Eep! Interview!”).

I’m not sure whether I’ll achieve either of my main goals.  Not because they aren’t achievable, but because, as I said, I still have quantitative data analysis to do, and there are other things which will take me away from my PhD work.  But even if I don’t achieve them, I really like the idea of public accountability, of stating your aims and telling other people whether or not you achieved them (which is why I also really like doing Shut Up and Write sessions, whether virtually or in-person).

So.  That is my plan for the month of November.  Wish me luck!

* explanatory blog post from PhD2Published here.


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