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Writing Groups

Several UMD Graduate School students type away on laptops in the Writing Center

“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 

The Dissertation Success Support Program is a semester-long program that provides community and writing support for students currently writing dissertations. We use a curriculum developed by the  National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) that offers skills and strategies for developing a writing routine, overcoming challenges that keep your from writing, and achieving what you want to achieve with your writing. Students in this program receive peer support during weekly meetings and can request individual writing support. The time commitment for the program includes a weekly hour-long meeting, optional individual writing consultations, and optional time for videos and activities from the NCFDD curriculum. Click here to register for the Fall 2023 cohort (deadline to register is September 5) 

Forming a Writing Group

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

UMD Graduate School students work at various tables in the Writing Center

The first step to deciding what kind of writing group is good for you is to consider what you want from a group.

For company, accountability, and shared disengagement, try a "Write Together" group. If you want to give and receive specific feedback on writing, consider 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). 

Hand-written diagram outlining goals related to Chapter Overviews

Write Together Groups

A Write Together group works through shared disengagement. Members disengage from other responsibilities and physically come together to write in a shared space. 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.  

Peer Review Groups

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 fit your needs. These small groups meet regularly to exchange written work and offer feedback on clarity, organization, coherence, or style.

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 subdiscipline, 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.

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