Summer Writing Group 2015!

Laura Arnold Leibman

Each summer do you get started on a research project only to set it aside when school begins?  Do you have a “revise and resubmit” article that you never revised or never resubmitted? Could this be the summer you break the cycle?  Do you feel isolated and wish you had people who would read your work and respond in constructive ways?

Join us for the second annual year of the Online Writing Group! (Read the call for last year's group here.)  The internet is the often disparaged for creating connections that are fleeting and false (how many of your facebook friends do you actually know?).  Last year, however, our online group showed that we can also use digital tools to forge real connections.  As Gretchen Rubin suggests, “People succeed in groups.”  Not only do we thrive by feeling supported by others, but also when people in our group succeed, their success make us more likely to succeed ourselves (Happiness Project 243).

This summer we will once again be using Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks.  Whether you are a graduate student or a seasoned writer, Belcher has tips that will improve your writing and work habits.  One change that we will be making for summer 2015 is that our duo theme will be accountability and creativity.  How can the group help us maximize accountability so that we finish our projects?  How can we use the group's supportive atmosphere to help us get past self-sabotaging and fears of failure, risk, and shame so that we can maximize our creativity?

What’s the plan?
  1. 24 people (max.) all buy, read, and follow Belcher’s book for the summer.
  2. Every other week, we meet virtually as a large group using “Go To Meeting” to have a full group discussion about strategies for success and which of Belcher's tips work best.
  3. The weeks in between you will meet virtually with three to four other people and exchange the parts of your work Belcher expects people to have written by that point (e.g. abstract, lit. review, etc.). You should read each other’s work, give supportive feedback, and learn from each other’s triumphs and pitfalls.
What it will cost you: your dedication and time.  Otherwise it is just the cost of the book.  On a tight budget?  The kindle version is cheapest, or you can just borrow from a library for free. If you connect with your computer, there is no cost for Go to Meeting.

Expected Questions:
  1. How is this different from services like academic writing club, academic ladder, or The Professor is In? Answer: unlike academic writing club and academic ladder, it is free and you will actually exchange writing with people, read their work, and give and get feedback.  In contrast to the writing help section of the Professor is In, it is free.  I will also connect you with people in related subject areas and schedule large discussions every other week.  In addition it has a limited time frame and a specific weekly goal.
  2. Can I do it in addition to academic writing club, academic ladder, the Professor is in, or some other group? Sure. By all means.
  3. Do I need to be good at computers to do this? Not particularly. You can use either a phone or computer to connect to the live forums with “Go to Meeting.” All you need to do is be able to dial a number. If you connect using your computer there is no cost for the call and you can see a live feed of what people are saying. Personally I like exchanging documents via google docs, but if you have a low tech group, feel free to just email them to each other.
  4. Why 24 people? The number is somewhat random, but it is how many can communicate using the version of Go to Meeting to which I have free access. Mathwise, it also allows us to break easily into groups of 3-4.
  5. I am not working on an article, but I am working on a book/dissertation chapter. Is that ok? Sure. Some parts of the process (e.g. which journal to choose) will be irrelevant, but the basic principles remain.
  6. Belcher’s book assumes I have written a version of the article already (e.g. as a conference paper), can I just start from scratch? Yes. I have used this book for that purpose before, and I think it saves a lot of rewriting. Again your process may be slightly different, though, so make sure you indicate you don’t already have a draft when you fill out the form so that I match you correctly.
  7. I am working on my PhD. thesis, may I still join? Sure. No problem.   
  8. Who will be in my group of 3-4 people? In my experience, the smaller writing groups work better when people have some overlap in their areas of interest, though not necessarily too much; hence I am going to try to connect people whose work is somehow related. I don’t think, however, that it necessarily helps to have people all be the same stage of their careers.  People coming out of graduate schools today have training in academic success that was unheard of 20 years ago.  Likewise senior people may have insights and experience with journals that are worth sharing.
  9. What are the approximate dates?  June 1st- August 21st Why?  I am on semesters.  I am hoping if you are on quarters it will help jump start your summer.
  10. What if I am gone part of the summer?  No problem.  Me, too.  That is the bliss of the digital format.  As long as you think you will be able to connect and stay on schedule you should be fine.
Interested?  Fill out this form ( and tell me what your area of expertise is and what kind of project you will be working on this summer.  I will match you with two to three other people who are somehow related to your area.

Questions?  Either ask them below in the comments (if you have a question, someone else will undoubtedly have it as well) or fill out the form or email me at leibman AT


Eden said…
Hi! Is this going to happen for summer 2016?

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