Collaborative Writing -15 minutes of reflection

So here goes, day two of my 15 minute #AcWri and I’m ready and set to go.

I nearly met my goal of 3000 words yesterday (not in 15 minutes of course!) after five straight hours of #SUAW activity in my home office. Today I must work in my institution office and so things will go a bit more interrupted. Over eight years in HE I have learnt to work with my limits, I never plan any heavy writing to be done on site and try not to do admin when working offsite – so far this is working for me.

So that nearly meeting my goal means that I must spend a short amount of time today finishing it off. I’m collaborating with colleagues in Mexico and the US to write a book chapter on alternative models of midwifery care for in Indigenous women in Chiapas. This is my first experience of writing with others and I have to say it is a new joy I have discovered to my many writing practices. I greatly enjoyed writing my thesis and the conference papers and planned articles to come out from it – but it did often get quite lonely. Spending many days without verbalizing to a soul about the ideas I was working through on paper often led me to bouts of self doubt and worry that I had lost my way.

Last year I kept up with some really useful collaborative working insights between @ThompsonPat and @thesiswhisperer during #acwrimo where they generously shared their writing project. They used google docs set to open access that we online observers could see their work developing in action. By doing so they really broke through many mysteries of long-distance collaborative writing, and also provide great relief to myself and many others I imagine about the amount of crap you have to write before you get to the good stuff.

The conversation that happens whilst you do this in a collaborative project makes this such a less painful project. My colleagues on this chapter project are in different countries and come from different academic disciplines – I rarely get the opportunity to do some interdisciplinary writing and this has really made me think about how accessible my other writing (and teaching) is outside of anthropological circles. In the sharing of the formatting and editing stages I have also learnt something about myself – my winding down process from a project is done through the step by step actions in involved in following formatting guidelines. It seems that after the creative chaos of writing and developing ideas what I need is a tick list of things to do that is already set out for me.



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