Write something everyday. (CC photo by Pete O'Shea.)

So today I happened across #AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month), which is a writing challenge for academics to write every day in November. This intrigued me for two main reasons: 1. I have a lot to write in November anyway and 2. I need to develop better habits for writing.

To focus on the latter for a moment, I know from Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work that if you do something for 21 days straight you can develop a habit.  Plus, it seems to fall in line with the recommendations of Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis, which I have been reading this semester.  There are also numerous other blogs on the internet with similar advice; here are a couple:

The common theme from these blog posts goes beyond the simple daily habit of writing and includes tracking and accountability, which is where #AcWriMo comes in.  While I could just join the 400+ academics from around the world that have committed to it in the @PhD2Published community, I’m taking it a step further and making the challenge to my academic friends closer to home.  I know that I will hold myself more accountable to people I know.

Here is my goal for #AcWriMo:

  • Write at least 500 words per day on a project that I have to write in November
  • Spend at least 1 hour doing research or analyzing data for my dissertation

To track this I have made a Google Sheet to document each day’s activities and blocked out time on my calendar every day.  To hold myself accountable I will post updates on social media using #AcWriMo2014 on Twitter, Facebook, and a specific Facebook group I created just for this purpose.  I am going to challenge graduate students and academics that I know in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and other academics in my network to join me in this challenge.


(CC photo by Pete O'Shea.)