If you’re a long-time member or someone new researching how you can add some accountability to your writing goals, here is a story from A Meeting With Your Writing – my weekly series of virtual writing groups to help you learn more about the process…
Part of the Meeting With Your Writing process involves sharing some of your accomplishments with the group.
In August 2016, when N shared that she had submitted the proofs of her book to the publisher, another participant asked her if she minded sharing more of her process and how she got the book finished.
When A Meeting With Your Writing began in September 2011, N had a partial manuscript on her desk. She joined the group and decided to use this time to work on the book.
She set the bar for satisfactory progress at a level she knew she could meet: working on it during the Meeting every week. If she worked on it at other times that was great but it was sufficient to have worked on it during the Meeting on Monday.
Sometimes, when she didn’t have teaching or other commitments in the morning, she worked on it during the same time block on another day of the week, too.
The focus remained on moving the project forward.
I encourage participants to focus on what they’ve accomplished rather than on what remains to be done. Books, dissertations, and even journal articles cannot be written in one 90-minute session. We focus on what has changed, what moved forward.
For N, sometimes that was one diagram or table that needed to be constructed or refined. Sometimes it was writing more. Sometimes it was revising what was there. Later in the process it was reviewing and correcting the proofs.
These small steps eventually led to a completed book manuscript, and then corrected proofs.
Process vs Product
The products of your writing are important. However, the product cannot be the only source of your satisfaction.
As N spoke about how she finished her book, she emphasized that she did not focus on that final goal. She focused on the next steps and moving forward.
A Meeting With Your Writing focuses on the process.
- What is the next step?
- What would you like to feel while you are writing today? (Playful? Curious? Productive? Enthusiastic? Courageous? Efficient?)
- What will you do when you get distracted? How will you bring yourself back to focus?
- How long can you focus before you need a break? What will you do in your break?
- What did you accomplish today?
You will move your writing projects forward. You will finish things.
You will also have a much better sense of your writing process.
Participants apply what they learn in the Meeting With Your Writing to the writing they do at other times.
Sharing celebrations gives you hope, and the desire to be one of those people who has something to share.
A Meeting with Your Writing is a core part of the Academic Writing Studio, my community members’ space for academics.
We used to meet by conference call and now use Zoom. I lead a short exercise to get you started. You write for 90 minutes. Then I lead a short closing exercise.
During the summer, the Meeting gives your weeks just enough structure. During term time, the synchronous meeting helps you keep your commitment to write, despite all the other demands on your time…