Inspired by National Novel Writing Month (or #NaNoWriMo) on Twitter, November has become the go-to month for getting writing done, and getting it done publicly. Last year, I participated in Digital Writing Month, and this year, I’m right back into it with Academic Writing Month (or #acwrimo on Twitter). The idea is to set yourself a writing goal, make it public, and share your progress as the month wears on (and November can certainly wear, can’t it?).
Another great thing about AcWriMo is that participants, through social media, support one another, share resources, and just generally have a little more fun than usual getting the important work on academic writing done. For me this year, I am going to (finally) finish revising my dissertation to submit to a (very) interested academic publisher by the end of the semester. I’m devoting my non-teaching mornings to the cause, starting with visualizations, and then setting a timer for 45 minutes, in order to give myself a chance to take small breaks and not burn myself out after the first week.
November is, for me, the cruelest month of the Fall semester. The weather has turned cold for good. The students can also feel the semester wearing on, which impacts their attitudes in class, which impacts my attitude in class. My kids, inevitably, end up getting sick, due to the change in temperature, which means I either have to take time away from work, both inside and outside of the classroom, or I get sick. The years that I’m really lucky, both things happen, and my husband gets sick too, for good measure. These challenges really do give me something to look forward to before the frantic post-Thanksgiving grading rush, Christmas travel, the MLA, and then starting all over again.
As always, I’ll be sharing my progress on Twitter. You can still sign up here by just adding your name to the spreadsheet. If you need some encouragement or inspiration, you can always check out the hashtag. I love writing in public because it does create a sense of both accountability and community around the activity. My triumphs become more significant, and my setbacks less grave. It’s risky to write in public as an academic, sharing your progress or your work-in-progress, but I’ve always found that the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Here’s to making November more productive!