Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!
After some delay, now is the time: Another Damned Medievalist and I are convening the fall session of the online writing group.
A digression: Week 12 of summer term, we invited participants to send in their suggestions for names for the as-yet-unnamed writing group. We got some good suggestions, but were unable to come to a consensus. Here were some of the front-runners:For those of you who are just tuning in, this writing group was founded as a virtual alternative to those dissertation writing groups that many of us benefited from when we were grad students, but that seem to disappear as we move into jobs. Or maybe you're a grad student still, but with no writing group of your own (or maybe your writing group is too flaky). Or perhaps you're not an academic at all -- last term, we had at least one participant who was a novelist. In short, our participants are writers looking for some external motivation and someone to be accountable to.
In any case, we liked all of these, but couldn't agree on any one, and finally we decided that putting off starting the group because we couldn't agree on what we should call ourselves was ridiculous. So, for now, we invite you to call this group whatever you like, until we think of something better.
- Authorial Intent: This one was popular and clever (okay, it took me a minute to get the joke), but I noted that it didn't really describe a group.
- Writers Anonymous: I liked this for its reference to both bloggy anonymity, plus the 12-step nature of our terms. ADM, however, pointed out that it sounded like a name for a group of people trying to QUIT writing.
- Scriverers' Guild: Another popular suggestion, likely spurred on by the heavy concentration of medievalists among our membership plus our many discussions of a Certain Writing Software. But it sounded a little too... ornate? Especially if you're not a medievalist (We are a bit strange). Still, we both liked it: A group for writers who Would Prefer Not To.
Anyway, back to the main point...
We also dispense encouragement, advice, and weekly discussion topics. And if you're being wishy-washy about your goals ("Next week, I'm going to try to write something on sutopic X") or have a new excuse every week for not writing (bearing in mind, of course, that "reasons" are different from "excuses"), we'll hold your feet to the fire. The main commandment here is Thou Shalt Commit.
So, here's the deal:
- Propose and commit to a single project that you can reasonably complete in twelve weeks. You likely have more than one thing on your plate, but pick one to that will be your major focus for this twelve-week project. Keep in mind that you may be in the midst of a semester, so don't plan as ambitiously as you might have in the summer. Will you write a chapter of your dissertation? Revise a completed draft of a book manuscript? Turn a conference paper into an article and get it submitted? Write a conference paper from the ground up?
- Make a commitment to check in once a week, all twelve weeks, on Fridays (ADM and I will alternate weeks) with your progress for the past week, and a concrete goal for the next week. Your weekly goals need not be elaborate, but they should be specific. Participants who are AWOL for
more thantwo weeks in a row will be dropped on the thirdsecond absence. New!: Comment/check-in threads will be opened Friday mornings, and closed Sunday night, in order to encourage timeliness, and to keep your humble moderators' work manageable.
- Commit as well to offering feedback to your fellow participants, now and then. This is a group project, after all.
- Optional: Some people last session found this book helpful in structuring a 12-week project.
So... Whatcha got for us?