“People writing as part of a community of writers are more likely to learn faster about the conventions and challenges of writing, to support each other at times of blockage and to demystify the process of writing by sharing each others’ successes and failures."-- Sarah Moore (2003) "Writers' retreats for academics: exploring and increasing the motivation to write", Journal of Further and Higher Education, 27:3, 333-342.
The Graduate School Writing Center supports writing groups for graduate students in a variety of ways, from coordinating groups for interested students to facilitating new groups.
Dissertation Success Support Program
Each semester, the Graduate School Writing Center offers a Dissertation Success Support Program, a semester-long coaching and accountability program for students at the dissertation stage. The program includes weekly accountablity meetings, scheduled "write-together" times, and resources from the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity. Click here to register for the Fall 2022 cohort (deadline to register is September 1).
ARHU Writing Groups
This fall, the Graduate School Writing Center will coordinate two writing groups for ARHU students at critical junctures in the dissertation process. ARHU students at the proposal stage may be interested in our Now What? Writing Your Proposal. We'll meet weekly to discuss topics such as genre (What is a proposal anyway?), project development (How do I structure this?), and the dissertation process (how many drafts should I expect to write?). If you have already had your proposal approved and are starting the dissertation, consider joining us for Moving Forward: Writing Your First Dissertation Chapter. We'll meet weekly for peer review and to discuss questions about development, process, and structure. Click here for more information or to register (deadline to register is September 7)
Interested in forming a writing group? The GSWC is here to help! If you would like to organize a writing group in your department or cohort and would like some support,please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first step to deciding what kind of writing group is good for you is to consider what you want from a group.
- Company, accountability, and shared disengagement? Think about a Write Together group.
- Feedback on writing? Think about a Peer Review group.
Different writing groups can provide different kinds of support on your writing projects. Most groups work best if they plan to meet on a regular basis (generally, once a week), with a specific length for meetings, and an established period for meetings (for example, all semester or 10 weeks).
A Write Together group works through shared disengagement. Members disengage from other responsibility and physically come together and engage to write. Similar to the Weekly Write-Ins hosted by the GSWC, a Write Together group selects a regular weekly time to write, a length for each session, and a place to write. After coming together and perhaps a few minutes of socializing, group members write and share their goals then start writing. Write Together breaks can often include planned, regular breaks (for example, every 50 minutes, writers get up, stretch, take care of any pressing matters, and get back to work in 10 minutes) and a specified end time with a final sharing of progress toward goals. Group members hold each other accountable for the writing goals members set each week. In a once a week meeting, members check in and report their progress on stated goals, write for a short period, then share new goals for the upcoming week. Meetings focus on reporting productivity rather than delivering feedback.
Size—group size can be anywhere from 2-10 people
Members—members can come from any programs on campus and may be loosely affiliated or closely connected or a combination of both.
What can the GSWC do to help? We can help coordinate and organize, as well as walk you through your first meeting.
If you prefer the support of others on the development of your writing and are looking for feedback as you develop your ideas and style, a peer review group may be the peer support you need. These small groups meet and exchange work regularly and offer feedback and commentary on the clarity, organization, coherence, or style of the written work.
Size—a group of 4-6 allows for members to have their work read regularly. The minimum requirement for a successful peer-review group is three members.
Members—you may want to include only members of your discipline or sub-discipline, particularly if you are interested in the development of topics and content. Or, if you are more interested in focusing on the clarity of the communication, you may want to be in a group that draws members from your college, allowing for some familiarity of content and style, or from across campus.
What can the GSWC do to help? We can help you organize your group and could join a few times to help facilitate the peer-review process.