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First Friday Writing Day

1 Mar 2019, 9.00AM–5.00PM
Room 3T1 Faculty of Social Sciences Stirling FK9 4LA

Do you want dedicated writing time to progress your writing projects in a supportive, non-surveillance environment?

First Friday Writing Days dedicate time to progressing our individual writig projects in a supportive and relaxed environment. We use most of the time for writing, all of us in the same room. Between the structured writing slots we use brief discussions to generate solutions to writing problems, provide informal feedback on writing-in-progress and, importantly, to set goals and diary time that keep prioritising writing.

I cannot believe how much writing I have done today - and with proper breaks? It doesn't make sense but it worked.

First Fridays' structure is based on that originally developed by Rowena Murray, a leader in the field of academic writing practices and our Facilitator, Dr Maureen K. Michael, is an expert trained by Professor Murray.

There was such a positive dynamic in the room. It was really motivating and I kept writing when I would probably have stopped if I had been working on my own.

There are six writing retreats scheduled and you are welcome to come to one or as many as you would like to. Please just ensure you select the ticket type for the date or dates you wish to attend below.

  • 7 September 2018
  • 5 October 2018
  • 2 November 2018
  • 7 December 2018
  • 1 February 2019
  • 1 March 2019
  • 5 April 2019

The case for ‘repeat-retreat’

At these retreats we focus on progressing a range of projects and produce a range of written outputs: PhD chapters, books, conference abstracts, journal articles and research proposals. Significant outcomes include growing research-oriented conversations and relationships, building confidence in writing and research and creating cross-disciplinary research conversations. For these reasons, and with these outputs and outcomes in mind, regular attendance at structured writing retreats is recommended (see list of references below). Such outcomes are also supported by various other writing groups, workshops and micro-groups that meet on campus and in other settings.

Retreats work best when you:

  • Focus exclusively on writing
  • Agree not to use the internet in the writing room
  • Define specific goals and sub-goals, i.e. sections of paper/chapter, number of words
  • Define and discuss content and structure for writing sub-goals
  • Take stock of your achievements of these goals throughout the programme
  • Discuss your writing-in-progress – mutual peer support

Before you go to retreat:

  • Decide on a writing project
  • Read Murray and Newton (2009) article - reference details below
  • Review retreat programme: plan writing tasks for timeslots in each day
  • Do reading and other preparation before retreat
  • Get notes, plans, outlines etc, together. Outline the structure of your paper/chapter
  • Download what you need and print

What to bring to retreat:

  • Laptop, power cable, memory stick, notes, outlines, ‘model’ paper, data, warm jacket etc (for walk around loch before lunch) and a mug (for the coffee breaks)

Retreat programme

9.00 – 9.15am Set-up laptops and notes etc; (bring your own early coffee)

9.15 – 9.30am Writing warm-up, goal setting

09.30 – 11.00am Writing

11.00 – 11.30am Break (Tea and coffee provided – bring your own mug)

11.30am – 12.30pm Writing

12.30 – 2.00pm Activity (12.30 – 1.15pm) and Lunch (1.15 – 2.00pm)

2.00 – 3.00pm Writing

3.00 – 3.15pm Break

3.15 – 4.15pm Writing

4.15 – 4.30pm Taking stock, next steps

Background reading

For evidence of impact on research outputs and research capacity development:

Murray R (2015) Writing in social spaces: A social processes approach to academic writing. London: Routledge.

Murray, R (2012) It’s not a hobby: Reconceptualizing the place of writing in academic work, Higher Education. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-012-9591-7.

MacLeod I, Steckley L & Murray R (2011) Time is not enough: Promoting strategic engagement with writing for publication, Studies in Higher Education, 37(5): 641-54.

Moore S, Murphy M & Murray R (2010) Increasing academic output and supporting equality of career opportunity in universities: Can writers’ retreats play a role?, Journal of Faculty Development, 24(3): 21-30.

Murray R (2011) Developing a community of research practice, British Educational Research Journal, 38(5): 783-800.

Murray R & Newton M (2009) Writing retreat as structured intervention: Margin or mainstream?, Higher Education Research and Development, 28(5): 527-39.

Murray R (2013) Writing for Academic Journals, 3rd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.

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