I always loved challenges. And I always thought that it is unfair – there are so many various writing competitions for journalists, novelists and poets, but nothing for academic writers. I was wrong. A couple of days ago I found out about an academic alternative to the famous National Novel Writing Month. Now, that is something to get involved into, but, unfortunately, I am 10 days late for this challenge, so I won’t take part in it this year.
So, what is Academic Writing Month? It’s an annual writing marathon, which lasts for a month (not so surprising, heh?) and usually happens in November. Experience doesn’t matter - everyone, who is somehow connected with academic writing, can take part in this write-a-thon. There are no general goals, everything is strictly individual – you can define your own tasks, depending on your abilities and ambitions. In order to take part in this event, you should sign up on the special AcWriMo 2014 Writing Accountability Spreadsheet, mark the goals you want to achieve and let every other participant know about your progress. Well, you could do this challenge on your own, but then there won’t be any emulative spirit.
I think that participating in such writing marathons is very important not only for the development of professional skills, but also for the personal growth. Freelancers can organize their life and work completely on their own, we don’t have a boss, who looms over us and makes us get all the tasks done. We don’t have to compete with colleagues shoulder to shoulder and sooner or later, we lose all the competitiveness. Nothing can motivate people better than competition – and it is much more interesting to compare your results to someone else’s results, than to your own accomplishments last month. It’s just a psychological phenomenon one has to bear in mind.
So, for now I advise you to organize your own little academic writing challenge, and next year we could take part in the real write-a-thon together!