November: A Busy Month for Writers

Expect to see a lot of bleary-eyed writers crowded the coffee shop this weekend. Today marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and they have until midnight Nov. 30 to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel. But as the Chronicle of Higher Education’s footnoted blog reminds us, it’s also International Academic Writing Month, in which grad students and junior professors pledge to make progress on their dissertations and academic papers.

Two examples: Julia Heathcote, a paleontology student in London, has promised herself that she’ll complete “at least 10,000 words on the Cetiosauriscus manuscript” and “at least 10,000 words on the ornithopod geometric morphometrics paper.”

And the pseudonymous Sisyphus, whose blog is known as Academic Cog, has pledged to write 15,000 words of a dissertation, prompting a reader to ask, “So are we blog commenters supposed to be kindly and supportive, or ferocious and drill-sergeanty?”

Neurosis is already lapping at the participants’ heels (trust us, we understand). The pseudonymous Luckybuzz worried yesterday that she won’t “be able to write 200 words, let alone 20,000."

For all the nerds out there actually participating in these marathon writing sessions, the Chronicle has some gems on on time management here and here.