Sunday, 8 November 2015

Farewell to the things I never wrote - ambition is good, but realistic goals are better (some thoughts for #acwrimo)

It's already been a week since I realised that November is #AcWriMo (academic writing month) and read some excellent pieces of reflection, advice and encouragement such as the writing is never done – a post for #acwrimo from Pat Thomson and Why I changed my mind about #acwrimo from Inger Mewburn, and lots of other great stuff on Twitter via the hashtag

And so, I thought (as I often do), I should write something about this. And then I didn't, because to be honest, I was writing too many other things. In fact what I have been discovering lately is that having finished one quite major writing (and editing) project (an independently published, open access book I've edited with Javiera Atenas), I now want to encourage people to discover and read it, and that means writing more about it. And that made me reflect on another idea for a piece of reflective writing I never wrote, which was about how I have really, really intended to get a lot better about posting on this blog more frequently (are you noticing a theme developing here?).

The problem is not a lack of things to write about. I have ideas, sometimes even paragraphs. But that's where I get stuck; when I have got somewhere that is already too long for a tweet, but not long enough to be an adequate blog post, or so I feel anyway. Maybe I should be more relaxed about these short posts and think of them as more akin to a workshop, rather than a lecture, where the purpose is to generate or engage in conversation, rather than deliver an argument. And I should also give myself permission to say farewell to the things I never wrote, and enjoy completing things a bit more. 

What I really want to do though, and this #acwrimo phenomenon has definitely made me think about this, is set realistic, achievable goals, rather than just have an ever increasing list of stuff I need to get done 'now'. Yes I realise I was supposed to start the month by doing that. But it's harder than it sounds. I am going to get on to that straight away. Well, after the next thing I need to get written and sent off urgently.


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  2. Happy to know that the shape of academic pain is somewhat similar. Passing from the fluid dimension of ideas to the materiality of writing is a nightmare. But the worst thing is to put our ideas in the Procuste's bed of a paper: intro, background, method,findings, discussion and conclusions need to be there or the reviewers will never be happy with our piece. Keep on writing Tweets and blogs and all those things that are worth to be deemed "food for thought". We, the humble readers, appreciate ;)