This invited blog post is courtesy of one of our regular writing club participants (SJA):
The ECR writing club is now seven months old! Whilst I’ve not made it to every single writing session, since its official inception at the start of the academic year, I now make it my mission to be at writing club each week! Here are four reasons why…
First, the clearing of the diary (as teaching allows) for one day a week has been an important shift in focus for me. Rather than waiting for writing time to magically present itself (and passively wondering why it rarely does) or dipping in and out of research between commitments, this forces me to set aside quality writing time and crucially to make more productive use of that time.
Second, a day away from the office, particularly when we meet in a different building – even if only metres away from NUBS – creates an important physical distance from the (multiple!) demands of other aspects of our roles. This clears space for more focused thinking about research.
Third, for someone who has struggled to set achievable research goals, the practice of sharing plans for the day and reviewing these at the end is helping me to be (more) realistic in setting and meeting short-term targets.
Finally, the prospect of catching up with lovely peers during the (well-deserved) 5 minute, 15 minute and lunchtime breaks – and of course the ritual of heading to ‘Bait’ for a gourmet sandwich at lunchtime – is a helpful writing incentive if not THE main motivational highlight! This aspect has not gone unnoticed from our friends and family… to the extent that partners of several writing group members have affectionately dubbed the group: Eating Club! We know they’re only jealous… and clearly they have good reason to be! (Special thanks again to the wonderful Fiona Whitehurst and June Landless for the tea and coffee supplies for the Flavia machine which keep us well watered and happily tapping away on our laptops throughout the day!)
Despite the slight room temperature issues we have experienced on occasion (which helped us to feel at home (!) but thankfully seem to be sorted) and the inevitability of arriving back to pressing emails, writing club has provided me with a focused, supportive and motivational writing environment, impetus to move forward with research each week and a great excuse for a gourmet jalapeno tuna melt!