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 and then write for a predetermined amount of time, generally two hours. At the end of the session, group members discuss their progress and plan their next steps. They might also ask questions of their peers and brainstorm strategies.
We hold registration for Writing Oasis groups twice during the fall term, twice during the spring term, and once during the summer. Each Writing Oasis runs for five to six weeks, with writing sessions twice a week, offering ample time to make considerable progress toward a research proposal, dissertation chapter, article, conference paper, or other writing project.
Spring Writing Oasis: We will hold two spring sessions. Registration is now open for session 2, which will run from March 18 to April 25. Registration closes on March 13.
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 three to five 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 sharing writing struggles, if helpful
- track if there are reoccurring reasons you might be distracted from your writing (e.g, 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)
- chat with peers to offer strategies, share ideas, and simply be in community as you encounter challenges.