I have friends who do NaNoWriMo every year, this crazy challenge to write a novel-length manuscript during the month of November. They have group write-ins, stay up all night, and check in with other crazy writers in order to get encouragement and keep track of their progress.
There are a couple of programs going on right now which are piggy-backing NaNoWriMo in order to stir up similar enthusiasm and encouragement for academic writers. Because I have a couple of deadlines looming, I've decided to sign up for them. First up with the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity's 14 Day Writing Challenge which starts tomorrow. There, you pledge to write 30-60 minutes a day for the next two weeks. They have a website set up where you check in every day, report your progress, and encourage your fellow writers.
The second is AcWriMo , which takes a similar all out approach to writing that NaNo does, and encourages accountability and support through their facebook page and twitter hashtag #acwrimo . I'm not going to set myself a word count for that (at least not yet), but instead am focusing on the daily writing and accomplishment of my two primary goals.
My goals? 11/10 I'm giving a conference paper which is in the beginning tatters stage right now; 11/15 I said I'd have a draft of my dissertation prospectus done. They're both rather non-negotiable (well, the prospectus date is probably negotiable, but as I set it, I intend to keep it). I think these are doable goals: one 9 page paper, one 15 page paper--that's something like 6,000 words, which certainly isn't NaNo length, but is a doable challenge. I also need to write a paper proposal that's due the end of the month. So, doable goals, but I'm curious to see how the accountability/encouragement process helps.