Our annual writing retreat has been an important feature of our support for early career researchers since 2016. The focus of the retreat is to develop healthy and productive practices that combine structured writing to targets with regular breaks for conversation, exercise and good food. The retreat provides dedicated writing time in a supportive and non-competitive environment and teaches skills that can be applied to participants’ usual working schedule.
The retreat is for early career scholars or postdocs (within 3 years of award of doctorate). It is free of charge, and there are a number of travel bursaries available.
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Feedback from participants
“I have struggled to find time to write up papers since graduating last summer. I have felt a lot of pressure to use any writing time in my working hours on project papers rather than my own. I found the writing retreat immensely helpful. I had dedicated time to focus on the paper, and finish it. The group was supportive and non-competitive. I came away with a paper that is now submitted and renewed motivation.”
“This workshop provided an opportunity to turn a thesis chapter into a journal article. The three days offered focused opportunities to restructure material, write new content, and synthesise various parts of the thesis into a coherent journal article. This retreat also provided a refreshing opportunity to meet other early career scholars and to discuss shared goals, frustrations, and expectations of academia.”
“… the greatest way in which the retreat facilitated my writing productivity was the way in which it legitimately enabled me to see myself as ‘a writer’ which I had never done before. I came away from the retreat with new found confidence in writing.”
“It showed me how much can be achieved in 5.5 hours when these distractions are removed, and offered a great example of how to balance work with recreational activities and looking after yourself, proving you do not need to do a 12 hour day to write productively (in fact, quite the opposite)! The communal aspect was also useful as it created a positive and welcoming group-writing environment (writing can usually be such an isolating experience!)”
“The best part of the retreat for me was the idea of a ‘community of practice’. Isolation has been the single greatest problem for me as a doctoral student. Working alongside others helped me enormously and I was able to focus perfectly on my own writing. The promise of the company of people who understand academic work (disciplinary differences notwithstanding) and concerns and problems in the field worked as an incentive.”