The Writing Oasis provides a space for accountability, productivity, and peer support. As one participant described the experience, “It’s like going to a gym and taking a group class instead of running alone on the treadmill.”

At the start of each Writing Oasis session, students share their writing goals with a group of peers. Participants then write for a predetermined amount of time, with break periods embedded, to achieve their objective. At the end of the session, participants share their experiences and discuss whether they met their goals.

Fall Groups

Registration is now open for our fall term writing groups, which will meet on M/W and T/Th schedules. We will hold two fall sessions: from September 26 until October 28 and from October 31 until December 9. Each five- to six-week period will allow you to set a concrete goal (whether finishing a dissertation chapter, working on an article, drafting a research proposal, or compiling research notes) and to make progress toward that goal during the writing sessions. Please note that these groups are the most beneficial when participants make a commitment to attend a reasonable number of sessions. Not only is this important for your own ability to realize writing goals, but it will also help to foster a more collegial and productive group atmosphere. 

Register by filling out this Qualtrics form. You must register using your Harvard email address. Registration closes on September 19. 

How Can the Writing Oasis Help?

Writing a dissertation, or, on a smaller scale, a research article, presents a number of challenges that we hope to identify, and begin to overcome, during the writing sessions:

  • Where do I begin?
  • How do I structure my dissertation?
  • What’s my primary, encompassing argument? What are my secondary arguments?
  • What does my data/research material actually say?
  • Am I missing data?
  • With what theory or theories am I in dialogue?
  • Why do I feel like my work has me running in circles?
  • What does a good dissertation/article/book chapter look like?
  • How do I map this all out?

What is a Writing Oasis?

The Writing Oasis is a space to:

  • articulate a measurable objective and goal (“I want to write an ethnographic vignette on X for my third chapter; I expect that to take 3–5 pages of writing.”)
  • set a timer for writing periods and break periods
  • be joined by a small group of peers who also share their goals and commit to write without distraction during the writing blocks
  • create accountability by sharing progress toward goals at the end of each session and to share writing struggles, if helpful
  • track if there are reoccurring reasons you might be distracted from your writing (Physical needs? Anxiety over grasp of material? Missing data or key sources? Lack of direction or sense of what’s next? Apprehension about writing quality? Language barrier? Other?)
  • chat with peers to offer strategies, share ideas, and simply be in community as we encounter challenges.