This is the first of a series of posts to journal my journey on the popular #Acwrimo (Academic Writing Month) bug plugging its way through the global research community this November. For more information on this, please visit PhD2 Published.
It’s my first day and I am happy to announce that although my daily goal was set at 500 words per day, I just hit a 1,115 word count over the slated 1,000 word. It wasn’t easy believe me. I really pushed myself. I’m sure the last three paragraphs of my draft would look like dross when next I pick up the document with a fresh eye (perhaps tomorrow morning).
I did write an initial post on how I prepared for the #Acwrimo. However, since events have overtaken the day, I may as well just give a quick recap on how I got myself prepared for the November writing season.
From the four goals I have for the term (which by my personal calendar ends on December 23rd), three of them have to do with heavy-metallic writing. This reality made the #Acwrimo a very appealing prospect to me. It’s fairly obvious that the bulk of any writing goals for this autumn term has to happen this November, before December arrives with the lights, carols and worst of all the snow that makes you want to snuggle under the duvet.
First of all, I invested in a very expensive app called Scrivner. I realise the term expensive is relative, but I daresay for many research students like I, £31.99 does make the wallet wince to varying degrees. I have not regretted this investment – it is indeed wallet-worthy.
Secondly, I drew up a Write-Tracker on an Excel sheet. I got this idea from someone’s blog, which I unfortunately dont have bookmarked for reference. The tracker contains information on date, time, hours spent writing, word count etc.
Finally, I spent October putting together the bulk of research on what I was going to write in the chapter. I know one never gets to the point where it’s said, “I have completed my research, IT’S FINISHED, now let me write”. However, it helps to immerse oneself in all the texts one is going to engage with, get cozy with the concepts and theories, have an idea of the structure you want to adopt (keep it flexible) and then dive into spewing the grey matter all over your screen.
I have designed a framework of spending the weekends of this Acwrimo topping up my “research” arsenal, so that it carries me through the week. I realise that at the end of this exercise, I would only have a first draft; but every great writing doesn’t start with ideas locked in the head, they all start with a first draft.