Charlotte Mathieson posted a useful blog post today reflecting on what she’d achieved writing-wise in Academic Writing Month. Even more valuable, I think, are her thoughts there on learning from the experience and taking it forward. In particular she writes:
So the first thing I’m taking away from AcWriMo is planning my writing month-by-month as a way of focusing on more concrete, realisable targets. At the same time, the above goals make clear that being flexible is crucial; we can never entirely predict where a piece of writing or research will take us, and that’s natural. What was important about having the overall AcWriMo structure in place was keeping the end-goal in sight, and being realistic about how I could still have a solid outcome from the month whilst adapting to the changing needs of my research.
I totally agree with her thoughts here, on the value of planning writing month-by-month, and the need to be flexible. When I started November I declared my goals and a strategy for completing them. But in the end papers were finished in a different order from that originally anticipated, depending on how well they were going, what I wanted to do next. It was very much a case of reaching the end goal, not mattering quite in what order I got there.
Like Charlotte I plan to continue to state my goals month by month, and see if I can carry the momentum forward. This applies not just to writing, but to research in general. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring more projects to fruition more effectively this way.