Yesterday was the official Write Now! launch at Edinburgh Napier University, organised by me and my colleague, Iris Buunk. Write Now! was inspired by the successful Shut Up and Write! meet-ups organised by creative writing groups in San Francisco, something which Iris and I tried to replicate for ourselves by working in area coffee shops.
[In a hurry? Go straight to the “Why is it important?” part.]
However, we believed that, with the right support, we could create and maintain a successful writing group on the Merchiston Campus. But human support wouldn’t be enough, we wanted a small bit of financial support, too, so that we could offer tea and biscuits to our fellow writers. So we applied for a small research development grant from Edinburgh Napier University to help get us started – thankfully, the university thought we had a good idea, too!
Importantly, other academics seem to think Write Now! is a good idea, too.
Yesterday’s launch saw 15 participants eagerly working on their academic tasks. There was work done on PhD theses and journal articles. Some people used the time to edit papers they were hoping to submit for publications. And some people used the time to fine-tune abstracts or create tables and figures for their documents.
Did they show up for the free biscuits? Maybe. But they stayed to work and the feedback indicates that they will return!
We now have enough money to fund writing sessions through to the end of the semester and are hoping that we might find further support for next year – if we can show that the investment in writing is a good investment for the university.
If you missed yesterday’s session: Don’t worry! We’ll be back next week and you’re welcome to join us!
But why is it important?
Easy: Because committing yourself to a dedicated writing time can help to prioritise the importance of writing whilst facilitating the process.
We think that, at the most basic level, Write now! will benefit research students and academic staff who participate in the sessions. However, we also believe that this dedicated writing time will encourage participants to work on journal or conference submissions, research grants, and other academic work to help increase the university’s reach and impact within the greater academic research community.
Write now! addresses three of the four domains of the Vitae’s Research Development Framework, as dedication to the writing processes is key to the act of academic research. The primary domain to be addressed is “Engagement, influence, and impact” in the subdomain “communication and dissemination”. As a key component of research is the dissemination of clearly communicated texts, it is vital to show within the university that engaging with the writing process is of great importance. To that, Write now! offers individuals the ability to spend time actively working on effective, written communications – whether in the form of writing abstracts for conference submissions, writing up the findings of an ongoing research project, or disseminating findings through articles written for the press or academic blogs and other social media tools.
Additional areas addressed are knowledge and intellectual abilities as related to creating a stronger knowledge base and developing a higher level of academic literacy and personal effectiveness as it relates to issues of personal time management and the prioritisation of workloads and related tasks.
Join us next Wednesday – and every Wednesday through June:
Free drinks and snacks
And don’t forget your laptop (or pen and paper if you’re Old Skool like that!)