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Finding “air & light & time & space”: Enhancing your writing process for better productivity and satisfaction

Date:  Friday 27 August 
Time: 1330-1630


  • Erik Driessen
  • Lorelei Lingard

Summary of the theme and why it is important: We will draw on Helen Sword’s 2017 book, Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write, to draw participants into reflective conversation about their current – and their imagined! – writing practices. Sword identifies the BASE framework with four cornerstones that anchor any successful writing practice: Behavioral habits of discipline and persistence; Artisanal habits of craftsmanship and care; Social habits of collegiality and collaboration; and Emotional habits of positivity and pleasure. The workshop leaders will briefly present an analysis of their writing practices using the “BASE” framework, following which workshop participants will analyse their own writing practices using the “BASE” framework. After discussing the analysis, participants will then divide into small groups to work with others who share their BASE characteristics. In these groups, participants will share and discuss a 30 second video of their writing space/process which they have been asked to bring to the workshop on their phone. The aim of the video analysis is to support the development of concrete strategies for balancing their writing practices. Insights from this exercise will be shared in large group discussion, with the aim that all participants will leave with new insights into their writing routines and new strategies for purposefully altering or enhancing those routines.

Who should participate? Both new and experienced academic writers who want to think more purposefully about their writing processes, in order to develop as productive and satisfied writers.

What will they gain from participating? Writing instruction typically focuses on enhancing the product. As Sword contends, however, product follows from process! This workshop will provide participants with a rare opportunity to analyse their writing process using an empirically-based framework, and to understand how their writing routines might be altered for improved productivity and satisfaction.

Level of workshop:  All, but some experience of academic writing desirable

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