Post-#AcWriMo

Did everyone survive #AcWriMo? Did everyone know that they were inadvertently doing #AcWriMo and then someone mentioned it in their staff common room and they nodded along and said “oh yes, I am totally doing #AcWriMo” and then rushed to check what #AcWriMo was and signed up convinced that “this time, I am going to make it”?

I signed up for #AcWriMo only three days after it had started, so I have to say, I was not told by a colleague about it and then lied about doing it as the intro paragraph suggests. I did do it until the end – but I have to confess I have not gone back to the original website to introduce my results and kiss my biceps in the process for having achieved my objectives. I could have, but I was too lazy to do so. I went back to the list I had prepared in my notebook on the same day I signed up for it, saw that I achieved my minimum requirements, and then forgot about it. The job is done, so to speak, so why bother procrastinating over stats.

It was a good month for academic writing from a personal perspective, as the second day of December I submitted a substantial piece of the chapter I am writing. Supervisors were happy with it, and as usual, okay’d me to go ahead and just keep writing. I was also involved in two presentations, which I had to prepare specifically. Whilst the chapter is roughly about 8,000 words at the moment (with bibliography and all the footnotes, which means the actual text is probably no more than 6,000), the two presentations piled up to a total of 5,000 words. The total for November, then, is around 13k. I am happy with that. That was the whole point of #AcWriMo in essence: to write like there was no December.

The problem is, there IS a December. And just because you have writing your body weight in words for an entire month, that doesn’t grant you permission to stop writing on the first of December until the next marathon begins. I mean, you can. But it sort of defeats the purpose of it, much like losing to the bottom teams of a league due to lack of effort defeats the purpose of beating the top teams in epic battles.

I find it hard, however, to motivate myself to write after a big write-a-thon. With all the effort that surviving November took, and the good feedback that my supervisors have given me about my work, my body’s natural reaction is to bask on the smugness of success, and find good reasons not to do any work. “Oh, but I wrote 8,000 words in November, leave me alone”, my brain cries. “Even if I don’t write a single word for the next three weeks, I will still have an average of 4,000 words in a month”, well yes, brain, but this is not how it works. This only leads to guilt trips, brain, and you know this.

So two days ago, after having taken many, many days off, I decided to break the vicious circle of smugness, and started writing again. I am not sure I am succeeding at not “basking too much” on my smugness, but at least opening the document for a couple of hours, forcing myself to look at it and get the ideas flowing, I am doing better than not looking at it at all. Between the post-#AcWriMo deflation and the Christmas lull, I have made it into a really lazy December, so baby steps to correct that attitude is the best I can do right now. So that #AcWriMo actually serves a purpose and I don’t lose any points/words against bottom placed teams/non-Twitter frenzied academic writing branded months.

So that’s the plan for now!

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