One of the regular events that the Postgrad team in The Library offer is the Write Here, Write Now sessions. These events bring students together and provide a focused atmosphere for writing using the Pomodoro technique. This technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, provides 25 minutes of focused task time, followed by a five-minute break, and is named after the original tomato-shaped timer first used. In todays post, editor Ellie King chats to two regular attendees to see what writing groups are all about.
To hear about writing groups and what we offer at Warwick, I spoke to two students, Aïcha and Claudia, about their experiences with writing groups. Claudia has been attending the Write Here, Write Now sessions ran by the Postgrad Hub since October 2020. Aïcha has also attended Write Here, Write Now, as well as Switch On and Work from the Library and Shut Up and Write from the Centre of Education Studies.
What is your experience of a writing group?
Aïcha: I potentially have ADHD, I am a mature student with additional responsibility and I tended to procrastinate and naturally alternate between no focus and hyper focus. I needed extra support to help me focus while writing, and get more into the so called flow! I discovered writing groups during lockdown to enhance my productivity and I found much more. It was a social network, a supportive place where I could have news about social events in the university or somewhere we can share resources available.
Claudia: It was weird at first because it takes some time to get used to the format, the occasional awkward silences and particularly the timing of the sessions. But the session runners (Aysa and Dave) have always been the friendliest. I have attended the sessions fairly regularly since late 2020, and they have always been ready to make everyone feel welcome. For the first-timers, Aysa and/or Dave help you with explanations about how the sessions work. They also normally help us by directing us to useful information about university life (academic or otherwise). The attendees can also help with comments on questions or issues during the breaks.
“It was a social network, a supportive place where I could have news about social events in the university or somewhere we can share resources available.“Aïcha
What are the benefits of attending a writing group?
Aïcha: Writing group enable me have more of a minimum protected writing time. Moreover, it enabled me have a more structured writing session while alternating writing and pauses with the Pomodoro. Finally, it enables be to feel belonging to a writing community when writing and it enhances my motivation.
Claudia: The sense of community. I guess as PGR students, most people may already be used to having a routine but working from home can make it harder than it already is. The Write Here, Right Now sessions helped me with this sense of community where you share with colleagues going through similar challenges. The weekly sessions are like a steady and reliable place to find a familiar face or colleague during ‘office hours’. Even if you can’t attend a full session or every day the sessions are scheduled, you know they are there. Also, you get to meet people you wouldn’t have met otherwise because you share with people from different departments or who join from different parts of the world.
What advice would you give to someone looking to join a writing group?
Aïcha: Try and be your own judge:)
Claudia: I would suggest giving it a try. I can see that online engagement may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially after so long and the ups and downs of the format. Still, I think the two sessions a week of Write Here, Write Now offer a safe and friendly space to join colleagues who are on the same path.
Write Here, Write Now runs every Tuesday and Friday 9.30am-12.30pm on Microsoft Teams. For more information, take a look at the website.
Do you attend any writing groups? What advice would you give to fellow students? Leave us a comment below, tweet us @researchex or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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