Writing Workshops

There are some not great recordings of two recent workshops available – one on doing a rough first draft of the statement of purpose for grad student grant applications and another on planning to finish your dissertation in the next year.

I’ve been doing a “strategies for suffering-free academic writing” workshop since 2008 for thesis-writing undergraduates and grad students; I’ve offered it at various universities since. Every year there are folks who can’t attend and ask for notes to be made available. Here are the current Powerpoint Slides. Somewhat embarrassingly for me, but perhaps usefully for you, there is also a video recording of the one I offered at Carleton in 2014. The first section is on taking an attitude toward your writing and resisting imposter syndrome, the second is on time and guilt management strategy and “units,” the best writing tool I know, and the third does a quick run-through some specific tactics for working with writing, including a memo plan for guiding supervisors toward useful feedback. The video tracks a slightly older version of the powerpoint slides. The workshop aims to synthesize a number of approaches to writing that hold the understanding that academic writing may always be somewhat painful, but it does not have to produce so much suffering.

I mentioned a number of time-management and other books useful for academics and possibly for non-academic writers, too:

Advice for New Faculty Members, by Robert Boice
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, by Neil Fiore
Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management, by Mark Forster
The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy, by Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber
What It Is, by Lynda Barry

Here are some useful links I mention in the presentation. (There are many more besides these, and I welcome you to email me if you have suggestions for additions):

On recasting our relation to our work in terms of our life:
The Slow Professor

On procrastination:
“Why Procrastinators Procrastinate”
“Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators: The psychological origins of
waiting (… and waiting, and waiting) to work”

“Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.”

On help for finishing a dissertation:
Meetups: http://dissertation.meetup.com/
Supportive message board: http://www.phinished.org/