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Writing Groups


“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.

Interested in being part of a writing group in Fall 2020?  Apply by September 11

For Fall 2020, the GSWC will offer targeted peer writing groups, including groups aimed at doctoral students endeavoring to draft their dissertation proposals, and students across disciplines who are writing their first dissertation chapter this semester.  We will also be helping you form "write together" groups and find "accountability buddies." 

 Interested in joining a writing group?  Click here for an application.

 What kind of writing group is best for me?

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

Accountability groups

In an accountability group, 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.

Don’t come to campus often? A Virtual Accountability group may work for you. Same goal of looking to the group for accountability for stated goals, but the weekly meeting is a virtual meeting, either synchronous or asynchronous, depending on the group.

Size – accountability groups work best with a relatively small group of 5-10 members

Members—members can be from any programs on campus; accountability groups work best if people are only loosely affiliated (weak ties can make for stronger accountability).

What can the GSWC do to help?  We can coordinate membership, generally organize the group, and host accountability meetings in the GSWC. 

Write Together groups

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.

Size—group size will depend in part on the location of your meeting.

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, suggest good locations, possibly offer the GSWC as a location depending on time and size of group.

Feedback Group in your research area

If you want the support of others as you think through, develop, and articulate your content, then you need a peer writing group in your discipline, research, or content area.  These can work in many ways, but generally a small group should plan to meet once a week to discuss the work of one or two members who have submitted the drafts in advance. 

Size—a group of 4-6 allows for members to have their work read regularly.

Members—since you are looking to this group for feedback on your content, members should be in a closely related discipline.

What can the GSWC do to help?  We can help organize the group, meet with you for an initial meeting, and support you as you need.  We can also direct you to this extensive guide, Starting An Effective Academic Writing Group, from the Hume Center for Writing & Speaking at Stanford.

Feedback Group focused on writing

If you prefer the support of others on the development of your writing rather than content, a cross-disciplinary feedback 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.

Members—because you are focused on the clarity of the communication, this group may draw members from your college, allowing for some familiarity of content and style, or from across campus.

What can the GSWC do to help?  We organize and arrange groups, and you can request that a GS Writing Fellow be the “lead peer” as the group begins. We can also host meetings in 5100b McKeldin provided times do not overlap with our standing consultations, or you can find a location more convenient to your group elsewhere, if you would prefer.

Dissertation Success Support

The Dissertation Success Support Program is a semester-long coaching and accountability program for students currently writing dissertations. The program follows a curriculum developed by the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) that teaches skills and strategies for developing a writing routine and reaching timely goals. In addition to optional online training modules, students in this program will receive peer support and accountability during weekly virtual meetings, as well as individual writing support. The time commitment for the program includes a weekly hour long meeting, up to five hours over the course of the semester for individual writing coaching, and optional time for videos and activities from the NCFDD curriculum.

In the fall 2020 semester, virtual accountability meetings will be Mondays from 6-7pm, Tuesdays from 2:30-3:30pm, or Fridays from 11am-12pm (participants should select one time); all participants will also be welcome to join a virtual write-together session on Mondays from 10am-12pm as well as the Graduate School Writing Center's open Write-In on Fridays from 9am-11am.

To apply, please fill out this form.  Please direct questions to Dr. Macri (

Contact Information

Graduate School Writing Center

5100B McKeldin Library
College Park, MD 20742

Spring Drop-In Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 12:00-3:00pm

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