The Writing Oasis is organized by the Fellowships & Writing Center at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. It 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, writers 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 or not they met their goals.
Summer Writing Oasis groups are now in session. These groups will meet from early June through mid-August. Though groups have already been formed, you are welcome to join at any point as long as there is still space. To join a group, please fill out this form.
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 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.