Introducing Writing Together

Are you finding it a struggle to make progress with your writing? Do you wish you could fend off distractions and focus on your research?

MLE Blog
MLE Blog
Oct 29, 2020 · 4 min read

Perhaps you’ve already made your tenth trip to your fridge and it’s barely even midday yet…

Distracted while working — photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels

If you can relate to any of the above, you’ll be happy to know that we’re running a new session online called ‘Writing Together’!

Writing Together is a focused writing session where you can come together with other students for a fixed amount of time to work on your writing. The aim isn’t to put pressure on you to be productive, but rather to help you carve out some dedicated time to write and to have the chance to connect with other students in virtual space. There will also be facilitators on hand if you have any questions.

Writing Together is a great way to make progress with your assessments, literature reviews or dissertations.

Read on to find out:

  • How to sign up
  • What happens during a Writing Together session
  • How to prepare for a Writing Together session
  • How attending a Writing Together session can help you
  • What you can do before and after the session

How to sign up

For our online Writing Together sessions it is essential to book in advance. This is to allow the Zoom link for the workshop to be sent out a day before it is due to take place.

Please register here: Writing Together

On the day, you’ll need:

  1. A piece of writing to work on. This can be anything from a first draft of an essay to the final copy of you dissertation.

2. Zoom video conferencing software on your laptop or device to let you join the session.

3. A cup of tea or coffee, and biscuits for the break (optional!)

We hope to see you there!

What happens during a Writing Together session?

Our Writing Together sessions run for two hours and are structured to ensure periods of concentrated writing time are interspersed with breaks. We use a modified version of the Pomodoro time management technique to help you maintain focus. The Pomodoro timer helps you to keep track of the time during the writing blocks (and you can use the timer in your own writing time outside of the sessions!).

After a brief introduction, attendees write quietly for 30-minute intervals, separated by 10-minute breaks.

Initially, all attendees will have their audio muted to allow the facilitators to introduce the session, however during the breaks you’ll have the opportunity to join ‘breakout rooms’ to chat with other attendees about how your work is progressing, your writing process, or anything else you feel like sharing.

In the breaks, we will all come together to talk about our writing and share useful writing tips and strategies. During the breaks, you can choose whether you’d like to share your video or not, and if you don’t feel like socialising, you’re free to stretch your legs or make a cup of tea!

After the writing intervals, the facilitator will briefly conclude the session and signpost you to further resources to support your writing.

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

How to prepare for a Writing Together session

In preparation for attending one of these sessions you should:

  • Choose a piece of writing to on work on.
  • Set yourself a writing aim you want to achieve. For example, you may want to finish your introduction, write a first draft or do your final editing and proofreading.

Ahead of the session you will be sent a short survey via email which will help us to frame the session around your needs.

How will attending a Writing Together session help me?

Getting into the habit of structuring your writing time using the Pomodoro technique reduces the impact of interruptions on your writing . If you struggle with getting distracted, scheduled breaks can help you to maintain focus and the Pomodoro technique can help you to work in a way that’s more sustainable across a working day.

If you’re concerned about time management or feeling overwhelmed, attending a Writing Together session can relieve some pressure — the writing intervals and breaks are already chosen for you! By working on one piece of writing over several intervals, you can focus on getting something done and by joining a Writing Together session you have the opportunity to connect with other students to share writing tips and strategies.

Research work, notebook and laptop — photo by Lukas on Pexels

Research work, notebook and laptop — photo by Lukas on Pexels

What you can do before and after the session

Check out the My Learning Essentials webpage to find more online resources tailored for University of Manchester students.

If you want to work on the structure of a piece of work during the session, these resources will be really useful:

If you want to develop your argument and make sure you’ve answered your assignment question, these resources will be helpful.

If you want to do some editing and proofreading, you will find these resource useful:

To receive feedback and advice on a sample of your writing, you can book a one-to-one appointment with our Royal Literary Fellow, Lizzie Nunnery. Book an appointment with Lizzie on:

My Learning Essentials

My Learning Essentials

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