The BCMCR at BCU and PGRStudio are launching a ‘Shut up and Write’ series to support postgraduate students like myself in becoming more confident and efficient about our reading and writing skills. There are many benefits to being a part of this reading and writing group and they include the following:
- You will develop the habit of writing for reasonably short periods of time, which can help you better understand your “peak” hours of effectiveness.
- You will learn how to become more accountable for your progress goals.
- You will develop the skills needed for a supportive intellectual community, such as giving and taking feedback, and creating original work.
- Group members can be sources of new resources, perspectives, and ideas.
- You will get the opportunity to prepare and practice for conference presentations, which can help iron out all of the kinks.
- You will improve your time-management skills.
As a PhD candidate at the Birmingham City University, School of Media, I look forward to the launch of the Reading and Writing Group next year. The first session will take place on Wednesday January 27th, 2016. This group will meet monthly, and each session is expected to last three hours. At these monthly activities we will engage with a curated list of texts, including but not limited to excerpts from PhD student work, staff and researchers publications and major theoretical texts in the field. We will spend an hour and a half writing as a way to respond to and critically engage with these texts. At the end of each session, we will share what we have written, evaluate each other’s work and reflect collectively on the main issues we faced through the writing process. I’m really excited about having the opportunity to be a part of this activity. This writing group got me thinking about the benefits of online writing groups for citizen journalists.
A writing group is a number of individuals (typically three to six) who meet regularly to read and respond to one another’s writing. Though most writing groups meet in person at scheduled times, members of some groups collaborate through email, wikis, video conferencing, online platforms or other computer-mediated forms of communication.
Writing groups come in all shapes and sizes, and the length, meeting frequency, duration, and location of these programs vary widely, but they all have one thing in common: they offer a community of and for writers. Each of the kinds of writing groups has advantages and disadvantages. Joining a writing group can put you in contact with other people who love writing just as much as you do, people who may be able to help you or who you may be able to help somewhere down the line.
Here are some points to note if you intend on joining some type of writing group.
- Take feedback with a grain of salt because not every piece of advice you get will be good, so use your best judgment.
- Express your thanks for any critique you receive, even if you don’t like what the person has said.
- If someone offers you constructive criticism and you become defensive, others won’t be eager to help you in the future.
- Watch what you write. Words can appear much different on the page than when spoken. Always give positive feedback before criticism.
Here’s a list of 15 online communities that are useful for citizen journalists.
Please sign up on Eventbrite here or email us on ShutupandWriteBCU@gmail.com to join. Also, look out for our live-tweets on #ShutupandWriteBCU about this series in the next few weeks.
I will be live-tweeting the January session so keep an eye on out for more tips on reading and writing techniques and some more details about our first Shut up and Write session.