Writing papers, project proposals and grant applications is one of the most important activities of a scientist. However, scientific writing is difficult and can be tricky. It requires a range of skills and the level of ambition is high. It is usually a solitary activity and scientists may feel that they are the only ones struggling with this process. Moreover, it often turns out to be difficult to make sufficient time available for writing.
We have therefore developed a six-week online writing program that allows scientists to develop an effective way of writing, share their experiences with colleagues and gain more knowledge of the writing process.
This is not an open registration but an in-company training; the department/faculty/university organizes the group and we don’t offer groups for individuals to join.
The idea behind the Writing Support Group is that it is easier for scientists to build a writing routine and write effectively if they are part of a group that collectively follows the same writing-programme over a six-week period. A group of peers recognizes each other’s problems and can inspire and motivate each other. The group is guided by a coach who provides a structured programme with writing exercises and also provides individual coaching sessions.
Studies show that participants in writing groups not only report greater output and gain more knowledge about the writing process, but also gain self-confidence and are writing with much more pleasure. This applies to both PhD students and academic staff. Afterwards, teachers appear to be able to guide their students better in writing because they have experienced the writing process themselves and give and receive feedback more consciously.
Prior to the program, participants are asked to draw up a personal writing plan with a realistic schedule for the piece they want to complete in six weeks, plus a more detailed schedule per week. We start with a joint online meeting in which we discuss the set-up and activities of the group and do a number of writing exercises. In addition, the participants will meet individually (online) with the coach to discuss their writing plan and any bottlenecks.
In the next five weeks, we schedule a joint one-hour online session every week, at a set time, during which motivational exercises are done and feedback and tips are given. Optional, there also is a question hour (by phone) every week. In the last week the program will be evaluated, we discuss how the participants can continue the built-up routine and, if desired, how to continue with the group themselves.
The group consists of 6-8 participants. This number ensures that participants get to know the each other well and with that a group spirit is created. This increases involvement; it ensures that everyone attends the meetings and keeps writing. The working language is English.
Quotes of Participants
“Academic writing is not only about writing itself but the whole thinking process behind it and it is much more challenging than you realize.”
“Writing is not a romantic thing, we just keep writing until we finish it!”
”Before I used to work under pressure, now I changed this habit.”