Blog Lab: My November Academic Writing Challenge – #AcBoWriMo

What is AcBoWriMo?

Inspired by some PhD students, professors, and writers that I connect with through twitter (my “tweeps,” for those of you in the know), I’m participating in AcBoWriMo: Academic Book Writing Month. Promoted by, AcBoWriMo is modeled after NaNoWrMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

Charlotte Frost of PhD2Published explains that NaNoWriMo “turn[s] the month of November into a month-long write-fest for current or would-be novelists. The idea is that you set yourself the task of writing 50 thousand words in November and bingo, you’ve got yourself a novel – or at least a first draft of a novel.”

Similarly, AcBoWriMo seeks to inspire academic writers to finish a book draft in one month. Depending on one’s academic specialty and/or standing, drafting a book in one month may be impossible (well, cruel joke, is more like it) or simply unwise. So, Frost encourages AcBoWriMo participants to define their own goals: What types of writing will you commit to finishing in November? Will you set a word count or page number goal, and if not, what kind of metric will you use?

My AcBoWriMo Writing Plan

Because I’m applying for academic jobs this semester, my  writing output  unrelated to the job market has slowed, and it’s been difficult to get back into the regular writing groove I established this summer.  So, for the month of November, I’m recommitting myself to a regular regimen of academic writing. For me, this means along with writing cover letters and other job market materials, I’ll be working on the following projects:

1. Revising chapter six of my dissertation, which is tentatively titled, “New World Orders: 1918 Pandemic Influenza and World War I on the
Home Front”

2. Transforming a part of that chapter into a conference paper, definitively titled  “‘A Singing Army Cannot Be Beaten’: Four Minute Men Speakers in Song, a Historical and Literary Perspective,”  which I’ll deliver in December at the first annual Indiana University Graduate Symposium on Theatre and Performance Studies

3. Publishing weekly blog posts here on “books, backpacking, and everything in between”

4. Posting daily comments on other blogs that discuss topics similar to those I examine here, such as books, backpacking, higher education, and American Studies

Writing Habits and the Accountability Factor

Making a plan–and sharing it–is the first step in the AcBoWriMo process. Having a clear picture of your goals combined with knowing that others are aware of your goals, though, is only one strategy for realizing academic writing success within AcBoWriMo.

As the month wears on, I’m sure I’ll discover new strategies for increasing my academic writing productivity. In fact, I’ve been thinking about writing habits–and actually, habits in general–for a while. I’ve written about William James’ theories of habit here as well as different ways to define writing “productivity,”, and I’ve discussed writer’s habits as writers conceive of them in my dissertation.

Are You In? Let’s Connect on Twitter.

If you’re participating in AcBoWriMo and we’re not connected on Twitter, let’s change that! You can find me @ambulantscholar (which is something you probably already know if you’re viewing the full or non-mobile version of this site). In the meantime, what are your thoughts about AcBoWriMo? Tell me about your game plan below, and happy writing.

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Posted in Blog Lab, Cultural Phenomena, Everything in Between, Life of the Mind

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Dr. Amy Rubens
I'm an "ambulant scholar," and I move among several worlds. As a professor of English, I research and write for audiences within and outside of academia. As a teacher of writing, literature, and culture, I facilitate learning. As a blogger, I critique, question, and reflect. Learn more about this blog and the work I do as a professor and workplace writing consultant.

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