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, “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.

How Can the Writing Oasis Help?

Writing a dissertation has some identified challenges:

  • 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 actually say?
  • Am I missing data?
  • What theory does this data speak to?
  • I feel like my work has me running in circles.
  • What does a good dissertation 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”). 
  • A space to set a timer for writing periods and break periods.
  • A space to have 2-10 peers who also share their goals and also commit to write without distraction during the writing blocks.
  • A space to be held accountable at the end of the session to see if articulated goals were reached or share writing struggles, if helpful.
  • A space to track if there are reoccurring reasons one is distracted from their writing (Physical needs? Missing knowledge of material? Missing data? Lack of direction/what’s next? Apprehension about writing quality? Language barrier? Other?).
  • A space to chat with peers in the same stage to offer strategies and simply be in community across difficulty.