From #acwrimo to #nanowrimo

Despite my previous post about the benefits of Academic Writing Month, or AcWriMo, I’m actually not doing it this November. I’ll be supporting those who are, but not taking part myself. In a way, I’m delighted not to be doing Academic Writing Month, or AcWriMo, this November.

For those who are new to the concept, AcWriMo hinges on the concept that for the month of November you make academic writing your priority. You pick your targets, declare them online, and report on your progress. The concept isn’t as restrictive as the title appears. Firstly, AcWriMo doesn’t just include writing; it can also encompass editing, reading, analysing, or almost anything that is part of your own academic practice. And secondly, as I’ve previously written, you can choose the targets that suit you best. For some, it’s a set amount of words each day. For some, an amount of time. And for some, it’s completion of specific tasks. Whatever you choose, it’s important to make sure that your targets are broken into chunks. “Finish my chapter” might be a great overall target, but you’re significantly more likely to achieve that if you set daily goals. I’ve gained a lot from the two previous AcWriMos I’ve participated in.

“This sounds great,” I hear you exclaim. “Why on earth aren’t you doing AcWriMo this year?”

Well, everyone, I’m not doing AcWriMo this year because I submitted my PhD at the end of August. I’m delighted because I’ve been prioritising my PhD for four years, and this November, I don’t have to. I can think about how that hard work and prioritisation has resulted in a submitted thesis.

However, that’s not to say I won’t be doing any writing this November. This year, I’ll be doing National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, which was the original inspiration for AcWriMo. The rules seem to be a little more strict; the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel within the month of November. That works out to a little under 1700 words a day, if you’re writing every day.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about AcWriMo if I’m doing NaNoWriMo instead this year. The reason is simple: They’re really not that different. Even without the fact that one was based on the other, both rely on prioritising writing for a time-limited period. Both are a great way to develop your voice. And both have a lot to teach about task/time management. I loved AcWriMo, and I’m excited to try NaNoWriMo too.

Are you taking part in AcWriMo or NaNoWriMo this November? If so, how are you feeling about it? Have you taken part in previous years? If so, how did you find it? Let me know in the comments.

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