Total for week 1: 12h15m
Average per day: 1h45m (skewed by an unusually long session on day 3)
I have been doing AcWriMo in one form or another since its inception, 11 years ago. Sometimes I focus on time; other times on specific outputs. This year, I chose to focus on the second edition of “Management Research – Applying the Principles”, a research methods book that I co-authored with Susan Rose and Nigel Spinks. Even though the revised manuscript isn’t due until April, I have lots of teaching next semester, So, I really need to do the bulk of the work this side of Christmas. AcWriMo will motivate me to a little bit of work on the book, every day, and get me closer to my goal of finishing the revisions before the next semester starts.
When I posted about my goal on LinkedIn, Janet Ward kindly offered to help me with accountability, so we have been sending each other a message, each day, when we are done with our AcWrMo session for the day.
Day 1 was mostly about organising files. Luckily, my co-authors are very well organised, particularly Nigel, who is an expert on process and operations management. He had created a table with a breakdown of every chapter and every section in the new edition, with notes regarding what came from the previous one (and where specifically) vs what is new, as well as who is responsible for what. Then, for each chapter that I am leading, I removed content that was no longer relevant for that chapter; moved content across sections, as relevant; made a note regarding where new sections are going in (e.g., a new section on big data); and made notes about generic tasks that need to be done in every chapter (e.g., adding learning outcomes…). And that was it for day 1.
I was very tired on day 2 because I had slept poorly, had a 4 hour workshop, and had eaten mostly junk food all day. But, because I had committed to AcWriMo, I sat down to get a little bit of writing done before preparing dinner. I thought I would only get 15 or 20 minutes of writing but, in the end, I managed to get just over an hour. I mostly skim read the chapter, highlighted things that needed to be changed, and did easy tasks such as changing section numbers. I definitely wouldn’t have worked on the book (or any writing for that matter) this day, were it not for AcWriMo!
Day 3 ended up being a really long writing session. I was very focused and the writing was “flowing”, so I decided to skip other tasks in my diary and keep writing well past the time I had blocked for it in my diary. I worked through four sections of the chapter.
On day 4 I only managed a 1h15m session, because I was due to donate blood. I worked through an easy section.
Day 5 was a Saturday and we spent the day in Brighton. This was another one of those days when I wouldn’t have worked on the book were it not for AcWriMo. Yet, because of it, I managed to work through another section.
On day 6, I did two writing sessions, which I don’t usually do. Though, to be fair, breaking the session into two turned out to be really helpful because I managed to find a solution to a problem that I was having with a tricky section, while I was out.
And, last but not least, on day 7, I wrapped up the chapter on qualitative research designs. Of course, there is still lots of work to be done on this chapter, such as changing the figures and tables. But the first “pass” is done. I ended up spending almost an hour sorting out references, which is a really, really, really boring task.
Overall, I am very happy with the first week of AcWriMo – both the fact that I got started on this big project that has been hanging over my head, and the way that it went. Though, I have to admit that this sort of writing productivity was only possible because this teaching semester is not too heavy, and because I do not need to supervise young children.
For week 2, I will continue to stick to one writing block per day, mostly in the morning. I prefer to limit myself to one writing block per day (specifically for the book project, that is) because I find that the constraint helps me focus and be more productive. Moreover, it means that I can keep my other projects going. I should be able to revise the chapter on interviews, and get started on another one.