by: Carol Hurney
At first I wasn’t sure why so many faculty flocked to the “Bootcamp for Scholarly Writers” offered by the CFI during January and May Symposium. But now I know. I know because about 2 years ago I attended my first bootcamp/lockdown experience. Here is what I learned.
I learned that sitting in your office trying to write or do other scholarly work just doesn’t compare to sitting in a room with 20 of your colleagues who are trying to accomplish the same thing. Why is the lockdown more fun and productive than working in your office? From the outside looking in the lockdown doesn’t seem fun or productive. Although the participants appear to be writing, they also appear to be staring off into space searching for a reason why they signed up to drag their computer, notes, and other research materials to Rose Library during a perfectly wonderful spring or winter day. But until you sit down in a lockdown and commit to making progress on your writing goals you will never know that there is ENERGY in that room. During all of the lockdowns I have attended I felt a sense of electricity or some other force in the room. This force compelled me to shut off my email, limit my Internet use, and write. And then write some more. When I found myself losing focus, I would simply look around and see my colleagues typing away and BAM I was back to the writing business. Of course I would get stuck, but when I did the energy would push me on. At the end of each lockdown day I had compiled pages of research notes or writing to show for my day of silent work. From my perspective, I have the other participants to thank for my productivity. I wanted them to see me typing. I wanted my actions to add energy to their work. I wanted all of us to write our hearts out. And I think we did. I have had two papers published that I worked on during a writing lockdown. I didn’t finish an entire manuscript during the lockdown, but I did get the process started or made huge strides toward completion. My work during the lockdowns provided the foundation that allowed me to successfully weave shorter writing blocks into my schedule during the summer and on into the semester.
So what are you waiting for? This year at May Symposium you can get locked down to work on finishing your grades, designing assignments, finishing the APT report for your department, or working on your scholarly writing. Take advantage of the energy you will find in these lockdowns and get a jump start on your summer work goals.