- You have a deadline for a paper for a conference you haven’t progressed past the opening paragraph?
- You committed to submitting an article you completed weeks ago to a prestigious academic journal but you feel it needs a bit more polishing?
- You know you are onto a good idea, but just don’t know how to get started putting it on paper?
Sounds like you could use the boost, structure, tips, tools and social support an academic writing workshop can provide.
Why Might A Writing Workshop Help?
Workshops, whether they are for business executives or academics, can be a great way to develop new ways of thinking, provide opportunities for networking with like-minded colleagues, get inspiration to work better, and have fun while learning.
They can be led by experts in a field who have domain-specific knowledge to offer, or simply be a space where those in a similar stage of their work gather to help motivate each other and offer feedback. Workshops can provide a dynamic turning point in your development as a writer.
What Does An Academic Writing Workshop Entail?
A writing workshop can serve many purposes. At base, though, it should help you hone your writing skills and become a more critical reader of your own work.
Workshops typically draw people together for a specific task at a specific time with mentors or experts to offer guidance.
A popular topic is how to navigate the long journey from concept to publication. Or, the focus may be on discrete parts of the process: researching, planning, writing, referencing and submitting. Within these different stages, there may be checklists that someone new to the publishing process might not know, and those more familiar might want to refresh.
An expert can shorten the learning curve and help you get your work submitted in an efficient and professional way.
Writing workshops are amenable to various sizes and spaces. One can attend a small group seminar or a large lecture. Such sessions could be sponsored by your local university or offered at a prominent publishing house. There are also international organisations that facilitate such seminars, like the London School for Interdisciplinary Research, the Berlin Writers’ Group, or the ACRN Oxford Research Center, among others.
If you are simply looking for ways to improve your writing and are affiliated with a university faculty, you may be lucky enough to have a Writing Centre on site. They can be a wonderful source of encouragement and advice, but most are designed to assist students. For those professionals early in their career, discipline-specific or faculty-wide writing groups can be an important part of supporting tenure track academics and are ideally an integral element in any faculty development program.
Writing Workshops for Academic Publishing
If your primary goal is to get your work published, attending a writing workshop hosted by an academic publisher can be invaluable. A specifically designed academic writing workshop, depending on its topics and goals, could range from a couple of hours to a multi-day mini-conference in a desirable location. However, with current COVID-19 restrictions, most workshops are presented as webinars.
Barbara Budrich has an upcoming webinar to help hone in on your academic writing skills. You don’t want to miss this, click 👉 here to sign up now.
While you may be missing out on the often-inspiring coffee klatch or cocktail hour conversation at such events (learning to convey your topic in an “elevator speech” is a real skill worth honing, for face-to-face interviews and for writing abstracts), the webinar format can also be quite productive in other ways.
Such workshops can be used to dig deeper into particular strategies of submitting your article for publication or learning about what reviewers look for in a journal manuscript. Alternatively, if you are looking for guidance on the writing process itself, you could find a workshop that focuses on elements of style or how to revise, edit and proof your own work.
“Dear Barbara Budrich, thank you so much for the ideas to disrupt my own writing strategies from a different perspective. Once again, I am now learning to think about writing from a different angle.” – Prof. Astrid Neumann
Workshops offer the opportunity to learn directly from experts about how to develop techniques for managing the different elements of the writing and publishing process.
In fact, Verlag Barbara Budrich has an upcoming webinar workshop series to help hone your writing skills. Click 👉 here to sign up now.
For those from the Global South or those from non-English speaking countries who are seeking to publish in English there are efforts to overcome some of the geographic biases of the past and specific writing workshops have been tailored to these needs.
Here are 4 more reasons to sign up for a writing workshop.
- Need Structure and Accountability?
Procrastination, and its sister, perfectionism and fear of failure, seems to be a trait shared by many academics. But it can be paralysing. Sometimes you need an external deadline, a group of people you need to be accountable to, or a structured set of steps to get from point A to point B to jolt you from that space. A workshop might help.
“You inspire me, and keep me motivated. On top of that, you help me to write more structured in flow. Thank you so much, Barbara Budrich. To work with you is highly recommendable! I will always come back to work with you.” – Christian Wagner
- Need a Grammar and Style Boost?
Perhaps you need to change up your style, vary your sentence structure or adopt new readability tools, like transitional phrases or rhetorical questions. These kinds of goals certainly need an objective outsider to help direct you.
- Need Help with a Particular Issue?
Using quotations effectively is an essential part of academic writing, and it requires the fundamental skills of summarising and paraphrasing. There are definitely ways to improve your speed and ability to do this. Perhaps you could use a refresher course or some guided practice.
- Need a Primer on Technical Elements of a Journal Article?
Maybe you are not certain about what footnote or bibliography style to use, or unfamiliar with some of the amazing tools out there that help you manage these tasks. Or, you are uncertain how much space to devote to a literature review or the methodology section. Getting advice straight from the publisher could be invaluable and a major time saver.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having pushed all in-person meetings online, you may not have to wait long to sign up for the next writers’ workshop.
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