Wanna Finish Your Dissertation in a Month? Join Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo)!


Maybe, some of your “friends” on Facebook have already declared that they are going to write a novel in a month while participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo is “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.”1 The website claims that 36,843 among 256,618 participants in 2011 achieved the goal!1 Last year, Charlotte Frost, the founder of PhD2Published, declared the month of November as AcBoWriMo (Academic Book Writing Month) Beta. In 2012, AcBoWriMo is back as Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo)! As with NaNoWriMo, your goal is to set a target word count (most likely, 50,000 words) and work towards  it in the month of November. For both NaNoWriMo and AcWriMo, you publicly declare your participation and share your progress and experiences with other participants.

If you’re a graduate student under pressure to make a dramatic progress in your thesis/dissertation writing, or a faculty member who has been delaying finishing a book manuscript, you may want to participate in AcWriMo! For others who are still taking courses or in an early stage of sharing research topics, Digital Writing Month (DigiWriMo) may be a great alternative to these other two approaches. If you’re curious of the background of DigiWriMo, you can check an interview with its creators here. In DigiWriMo, you can write blogs entries, tweets, and update your Facebook status. Based on what I understand from “What is Digital Writing?” on the DigiWriMo website, all you need to do is to make full use of digital and online writing channels in order to engage in collaborative and communicative writing.

Am I participating in any of these approaches to write 50,000 words in this month? While I am thinking of participating in AcWriMo or DigiWriMo next year, I decided to take a pass this year. Why? I have a few reasons:

  1. I am such a slow writer that writing even one blog post a week has been already overwhelming.
  2. If I really tried to achieve 50,000 words in any way, I would most likely need to skip all of the readings for my courses and even stop attending classes.
  3. Writing one blog post a week is my modified version of DigiWriMo!

If I start counting all of the school-related e-mails, proposals, assignments, and notes, maybe I could likely reach 50,000 words by the end of this month. Since I prefer setting a more specific, productive goal if I am going to write 50,000 words, I should rather spend this month coming up with one. You know what, we can do NaNoWriMo, AcWriMo, or DigiWriMo in a month of our choice. Or, we can modify the length to a week, a day, or even an hour. To some degree, all these writing approaches are an extension of the Pomodoro Technique®:


For those who have decided not to participate in any of these writing approaches or are hesitant to do so, why don’t we just focus on how productively or efficiently we’re doing our academic work and consider how we can improve our productivity from there? I guess this is my really modified version of DigiWRiMo/AcWriMo!



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