Writing Retreats and Courses for Academic Writers

Courses

Online/in-person Thesis Writing Course

2023, 10am-4pm UK time

 

Programme

9.55amZOOM login
10-11Welcome and Introduction – key principles + options
Define ‘writing’, Audience & Purpose, Assessment Criteria
Writing ‘warm up’, Writing goals for a thesis, Originality and Contribution
Writing Activity – purposes of your thesis/chapter(s)/section(s) verbs (10 mins) + discussion – adapt writing task to suit your stage in PhD
11-11.15Mini-break
11.15-12.30Strategies for generating text
Writing to prompts
Freewriting
Generative Writing
‘Quality’ writing
12.30-1.15Lunch break
1.15-1.45Writing a ‘Page 98 Paper’
1.45-2.15Writing a Thesis/Chapter Summary – adapt/choose task to suit
2.15-2.30Mini-break
2.30-3.30Outlining – thesis/chapters
Writing conclusions for thesis/chapters/sections
3.30-4Writer’s Groups, Writing Retreats & Virtual Writing Retreats
Creating a writing schedule to completion & submission date
Conclusions + for more details see How To Write a Thesis 4
Rowena Murray’s Online ‘Mid-game’ Workshop

For people in the middle of the doctorate

This course is likely to be most helpful for PhD students who are somewhere is the middle of a doctoral project: you may have done some analysis and/or you might have written a couple of chapters. This course is designed to bring writing more to the fore.

This is how it works: over 4 weeks I introduce 4 writing tasks for you to do to help you to move your thesis writing forward. This can help you to make more time for more writing.

Each meeting on this course includes one hour of dedicated writing time, you write a piece each week, and I provide group and, if requested, individual feedback. Time is included for discussing your writing with others on this course, which people on my previous courses found useful, interesting and motivating.

These four writing tasks are designed to help you develop parts of your thesis at this stage:

  1. Writing and revising a literature review
  2. Writing the methods, concepts etc. chapter
  3. Outlining – thesis chapters and line of argument
  4. Your next chapter: outline, summary, intro paragraph.

By registering for this course, you agree to discuss and share the 4 pieces of writing you do for this course with other participants and with me, if you want individual feedback.

When – 4 mornings over 4 weeks, one per week, 9.30am-12.30 UK time

Cost – £200 per person (VAT not payable)

To check dates and register – email r.e.g.murray@btinternet.com

Rowena Murray’s Online ‘Endgame’ Workshop

for people aiming to get back on track – to finish a Doctoral thesis

During lockdown and after, while we’re working from home, writing can slip onto the back burner. We all have other demands on our time – childcare, home schooling, caring and much more. I created this course to help people carve out a way to complete a thesis. The silver lining of going online is that people have joined this course from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, USA, the Nordic countries, across the UK and Scotland.

This Endgame course is likely to be most helpful for students who want to submit a Doctoral thesis in the next 6-12 months – even if you haven’t completed all your chapters yet.

This is how it works: over 4 weeks I introduce 4 writing strategies to move a thesis forward towards completion or first full draft. Each meeting includes one hour of dedicated writing time, you write a piece each week, and I offer group and individual feedback. Time is included for discussing your writing with others on this course, which people on previous courses found useful and motivating – see comments at Anchorage-education.co.uk.

These are the four writing strategies designed to help you develop your thesis argument:

  1. Writing a 750-word thesis summary
  2. Writing a 300-word thesis abstract
  3. Writing introductory paragraphs for all thesis chapters
  4. Writing the thesis Conclusion chapter.

By signing up for this course, you commit to discussing and sharing  your four pieces of writing with other course participants and with me, for individual feedback.

When – 4 mornings over 4 weeks, meeting every week from 9.15am-12.30, UK time

Cost – £200 per person (VAT not payable)

To check dates and book a place – email r.e.g.murray@btinternet.com

Preparing for the PhD Viva

This workshop covers definitions, purposes, criteria, examiners’ reports, roles and responsibilities, ‘originality’, outcomes and appeals. Two key topics we will look at in depth are (1) the types of questions that regularly come up in PhD vivas and (2) strategies for constructing good answers to questions in doctoral examinations. This workshop includes short activities to practise these strategies and time to consider their relevance for your viva. Finally, throughout this workshop I address participants’ questions about the viva, and I will be available after the workshop to discuss by email/Zoom any questions that are not answered during this workshop.

For further information

Murray, R. (2015) How to Survive Your Viva: Defending a Thesis in an Oral Examination, 3rd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.

To check dates, commission a course or to register, email me at r.e.g.murray@btinternet.com

Rowena Murray’s Rhetoric and Writing Course

This course covers the principles of written argument. It focuses on rhetorical modes and shows how you can use them to construct journal articles and thesis chapters.

The programme includes:

  • Audience analysis
  • Rhetorical analysis of academic writing
  • Modes of exposition as ways of structuring writing
  • Modes of constructing written argument
  • Paragraph structures
  • Writing styles.

This course includes time for you to write in practical exercises, to put these rhetorical modes into practice with your current writing project.

Email me to check dates, commission a course, for further information or to register: r.e.g.murray@btinternet.com

Online Training for Retreat Facilitators - 2-Day Course

24th & 25th September, 10am-4.30pm

This course is for those who want to run Structured Writing Retreats. It offers a series of workshops, discussions and presentations facilitated by Rowena Murray. Everyone who completes this course receives materials for setting up and running writing retreats, which they can use or adapt for their own writing retreats.

Writing retreats have long been known to increase and improve scholarly output and research activity. The Structured Writing Retreat framework I created (Murray and Newton, 2009) can develop research capacity and activity.  This framework can be adapted for different aims, groups and timings. Attending multiple retreats can help to build research and writing into work and life. Consequently, many Deans, Research Coordinators and Heads of Department build writing retreats into institutional research strategies, and universities have been sending groups of academic staff on this course – one person from each faculty or school, for example – so as to embed writing in research and teaching across the institution.

Course content:

  • Review of writing retreat formats, focusing on Structured Writing Retreats
  • Explanations for rationale for this framework for writing
  • Strategies facilitators can use to support participants at writing retreats
  • Ideas on how to prepare for and organise retreats
  • Suggestions for ‘holding’ the retreat structure
  • Recurring issues and participants’ FAQs
  • Problem-solving
  • Review of the growing literature on writing retreats, academic writing and rhetoric
  • Practical session to develop retreat facilitation skills and review facilitation styles
  • Review of literature on health and wellbeing during extended periods of writing
  • Evaluating and evidencing outputs and outcomes – measures and meanings
  • Strategies for internal and external dissemination of findings
  • Strategies for using, adapting and sustaining this model in different settings
  • Strategies for running online/virtual writing retreats and groups.

Before the course, I send participants four of my articles, for pre-reading, and four of my books: How to Write a Thesis, Writing for Academic Journals, The Handbook of Academic Writing (co-authored with Sarah Moore) and Writing in Social Spaces. I email all the course materials to participants one week before the course.

The course fee is £950 per person, payable to Anchorage Educational Services.

For more information, to commission a 1- or 2-day course or to register email me at r.e.g.murray@btinternet.com.

Online ‘1+1’ model: Writing Workshop + Writing Retreat

Facilitated by Rowena Murray

Day 1 – Writing for Publication Workshop – 10am-4pm

This workshop covers a range of strategies: targeting a journal, writing to prompts, types of prompt for academic writing, ‘snack’ writing, goal-setting for writing, freewriting, generative writing, analysing academic writing, criteria, writing an abstract, using prompts in series, outlining, dealing with reviewers’ feedback, writing groups, micro-groups and retreats. Many of these can be used to prepare for a concentrated spell of writing at a writing retreat – which follows tomorrow. This is a practical workshop. The aim of the writing activities in this workshop is to let you try these strategies and consider how/if/where they can fit in your writing practice. You can also use them to write for your article during the workshop.

For details on these writing strategies and others, see

Murray, R. (2020) Writing for Academic Journals, 4th edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.

 

Day 2 – Writing Retreat – 8.55am-4.45pm

 

Aims

To provide dedicated writing time and develop productive writing practices.

 

Format

This structured retreat uses the ‘typing pool’ model. We all write at the same time, for fixed time slots, using goal-setting and peer and self-monitoring for our individual writing projects. Because we all write together, we can discuss our goals at the start and end of the day (10-15 minutes). Almost all the retreat time is writing time.

 

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the Structured Writing Retreat model.
  2. Structure a writing day.
  3. Maintain well-being during intensive periods of writing.
Online ‘1+1’ model: Writing Workshop + Writing Retreat

Facilitated by Rowena Murray

Day 1 – Thesis Writing Workshop – 10am-4pm

This workshop covers a range of strategies for thesis writing: writing to prompts, types of prompt for academic writing, ‘snack’ writing, goal-setting for writing, freewriting, generative writing, analysing academic writing, criteria, writing a thesis summary, constructing a ‘contribution’ argument, using prompts in series, outlining, writing groups, micro-groups and retreats. Many of these can be used in preparing for a concentrated spell of writing at a writing retreat – which follows tomorrow. This is a practical workshop. The aim of the writing activities in this workshop is to let you try these strategies and consider how/if/where they can fit in your writing practice. You can also use them to write for your thesis during the workshop.

For details on these writing strategies and others, see

Murray, R. (2017) How to Write a Thesis, 4th edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.

 

Day 2 – Writing Retreat – 8.55am-4.45pm

 

Aims

To provide dedicated writing time and develop productive writing practices.

 

Format

This structured retreat uses the ‘typing pool’ model. We all write at the same time, for fixed time slots, using goal-setting and peer and self-monitoring for our individual writing projects. Because we all write together, we can discuss our goals at the start and end of the day (10-15 minutes). Almost all the retreat time is writing time.

 

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the Structured Writing Retreat model.
  2. Structure a writing day.
  3. Maintain well-being during intensive periods of writing.