WAG Winter 2021

Feb 1, 2021

Whatever the role that research plays in their professional lives, DU Faculty in every series face common challenges,  including competing commitments, caregiving burdens, demanding service loads, and even occasional low motivation. The good news: Writing Accountability Groups (WAGs) enable faculty to cultivate sustainable writing habits and meaningful, achievable goals without sacrificing teaching, relationships with colleagues, or self-care. Unlike a disciplinary writing group which might share or review content, the interdisciplinary WAG emphasizes mutual encouragement to meet goals and the embedding of scholarly work in daily practice.

WAG members—who might be early-, mid-, or advanced-career faculty–enjoy access to NCFDD media resources, daily writing tools, and discussion of topics from project management to mentorship. WAG members commit to writing daily and to meeting for an hour and a half each week to share their progress (and setbacks!). WAGs have many potential benefits (Plummer et al. 2019; Thorpe et all 2020; White 2010). If you’ve tried “30-day yoga”—or maybe a “Dry January,” you know how helpful it can be to connect with others on the same journey.

WAGs and other forms of communal writing remind faculty that struggles to prioritize and sustain scholarly work are common. They also make space for talking about the joys of writing, and for interdisciplinary exploration of professional identity (Lee and Boud 2003).

This quarter, five Writing Accountability Groups meet weekly in a facilitated session where they check in with peers, discuss topics, and write together to jump-start their thinking on a given project or to plan next steps for the weeks and months ahead. To accommodate faculty needing a designated time and space to write, we will also offer a “Write in Place” variant in the spring, supported by readings from WAG Your Work: Writing Accountability Groups: Bootcamp for Increasing Scholarly Productivity (Skarupski 2018), a volume compiled from Johns Hopkins Medicine’s WAG program. Write-in-Place will focus on making space for writing, in contrast to WAG’s emphasis on peer accountability. For those looking toward the summer, these configurations–as well as writing-intensive retreat–will be available.

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