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

Day: Sunday 28 August
Time: 1330-1630
Venue: Lyon Congress Centre

Presenters: Lorelei A Lingard1, Erik Driessen2
1 Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Canada
2 Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Background: Writing is the currency of medical education scholarship, yet many of us dread it. Some resources exist to support scholars to strengthen their writing products, but very little attention is paid to helping scholars to address their writing practices. These practices matter, because they influence not only the quality of the writing but also the satisfaction of the writer. This workshop 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 imagined! – writing practices.
Who Should Participate: Both new and experienced academic writers who want to think more purposefully about their writing processes.
Structure of Workshop: We will review Sword's BASE framework, made up of four cornerstones: 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. Following this opening discussion, the workshop leaders will briefly present an analysis of their own writing practices using the “BASE” framework online assessment tool, following which workshop participants will analyse their own writing practices using this same online tool. After a brief group discussion of their BASE profile generated from the tool, participants will then divide into small groups to work with others. In these groups, participants will share a 30 second video of their writing space/process which they have been asked to bring to the workshop on their phone. The  video analysis will support the development of concrete strategies for balancing their writing practices. Insights from this exercise will be brought back and 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.
Intended Outcomes: Participants will leave with a sense of awareness of their current writing practices, an assessment of which practices they might enrich or strengthen, and an expanded repertoire of strategies that they might apply to ensure their writing process is both effective and satisfying.

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