Survival guide for the first week of #AcWriMo

It has been 9 days since I embarked on the academic writing challenge known as #acwrimo. I have been writing all workdays and duly publishing my progress on the spreadsheet. Today though is the first day when I can’t possibly bring myself to work on my #acrwimo goals. I know why that is… Firstly, writing is a process and I feel a tiny bit at a dead end, so some reading might help (will do that on the weekend); secondly, I have been at school for my field work most of the days, meaning a 6am wake-up and a late night until I complete everything on my To Do list. You might have guessed I’m a tiny bit sleep deprived as unfortunatelly there are only 24 hours in the day and so much you can complete in that time. I’m going to be dead honest that I was allowing myself an hour break after coming back from school so that I can switch off and relax, I deserve it! And thirdly, I am combining the writing month with a month of daily gym-going and not taking added sugar with my food/drinks. Yes, the latter is making me a bit cranky, but it’s supposed to go away in a few days.

Just to clarify, I am not cross or upset with myself for not writing today. I will catch up on the weekend which was initially planned as rest time! And I’m writing this post to summarise my reflections so far. Oh, and I went to an academic writing workshop to discuss my writing this afternoon, this just MUST count for something!

Anyways… So here are some ramblings about what worked for me:

  • Planning and scheduling time for writing every day: At the beginning of #acwrimo I put down in my diary 2 hour writing slots for the first week. This is what I hoped to complete every day. Some days I managed more, which was good, so point for effort and staying focussed! But.. There is a but… scheduling was tricky as I am struggling with time and especially finding time to relax from PhD work at least a couple of evenings a week. So I think it worked best on the days when I had an extra hour that could be used for a little break if I needed it, or for writing some more if I felt like it.

Note to self: Don’t expect to switch immediatelly from one thing to another, esecially from being at school doing my research to writing and editing the literature review.

  • The procrastination jar seems to work a treat: I have used it 9 times so far and the truth about its content will be revealed very, very soon. In short, the idea that I was accountable for every time I procrastinate helped me to keep my focus and make less excuses. We’ll see how it goes…
  • Celebrating my little achievments: I kept track of what I was working on every day and looking at it now makes me proud and confident that I will complete my goals by the end of the month.
  • Public acountability: Completing the spreadsheet is also part of the sense of satisfaction and the #acwrimo community on Twitter is increadibly supportive. We are all on the same pot but knowing that others go thought the same rough patch is kind of encouraging and will be even more so as the days progress.
  • Making a plan for the next stages of writing at the end of my 2 hour #acwrimo session: I started doing this to help me get back to my writing quickly and to keep track of how my ideas are developing and where they are going. Furthermore, by doing this I can be sure that the next day I won’t open the Word Document and find myself at this point that I was proper stuck for ideas the previous day. Clever, eh? I read about that on patter‘s blog!
  • Gym: Three words – keeping me sane! And helping me to switch off for a bit.

That’s how I’ve been getting on so far. I’ll keep you posted. Comments, ideas and cheer is welcome in the Reply box!


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