In July 2023 a group of Cambridge academics arrived at CRASSH armed with laptops and pens and paper with the hope of being able to have focussed time to write.
Each member had signed up to join the writing week for differing reasons. Some had come with a writing project which they need to progress with while others were on sabbatical and needed a place with no distractions. Some people needed writing strategies or help with relieving their writer’s block or simply the accountability that comes with writing alongside others.
I really liked the use of seminars and meetings in the week which were short enough so as to maximize writing time. – James Riley
The aim of the week was to give the group an inclusive, non-hierarchical, and supportive environment to write in which took place out of term, when the academic pressures were lessened. The format of the week was a mix of structured time for discussion and fixed writing times combined with a session from writing coach, Nicola Janz, on the subject of ‘academic self-management and deep work’ and a ‘writing for the media session’ run by Fred Lewsey, Communications Manager, University of Cambridge. The week was free but required individuals to give 100% commitment of 7 hours a day to ensure everyone got the most out of this programme.
Nicole’s (writing coach) session was excellent with some useful tips for thinking about writing priorities (and also prioritising writing). – Férdia Stone Davis
The group found the week benefited them in differing ways: discovering that they are a good writer but that they need time and focus to do it; finding that the accountability of sitting in the same space with someone trying to do the same things as you (focus on writing) was enormously helpful; It was great to have time to dedicate to the project; cognitive freedom and space, with creative and regenerative consequences; solidarity and shared experience with a kind and engaged group across disciplines and career stages; the discussions with the other participants. Participants learned a lot from them and found it heartening to hear from people who are experiencing similar problems.
Apply for our upcoming writing week from 18 – 22 March. The closing date for applications is 5 February 2024.