About the Studio: a bit of history
The Academic Writing Studio is a service of Jo VanEvery, Academic Career Guide.
The Studio supports you to regularly find and protect time for your writing without extending your working hours to do so. Writing is a fundamental part of your job; it belongs in your normal working hours.
It moved to it’s own domain in 2018 but started long before. Information about what we do and how to join can be found on the home page.
It all started with A Meeting With Your Writing
Back in 2012, I (Jo) was looking for a way to help academics frustrated that their publication record made them uncompetitive for research funding. I adapted a model for an “accountability session” that I’d learned from Jennifer Hofmann to create A Meeting With Your Writing.
In the autumn semester of 2012, I offered 1 session per week on Monday mornings. You could only sign up for the entire semester; making a commitment to yourself to write every week (or almost every week) for a whole semester.
I had no idea if it would work but took a chance. Over the years it has expanded to 3 meetings a week to offer options for different time zones and teaching schedules.
Adding classes and creating a Studio
In the first few years, I started drawing on other models I’d experienced in the community of online entrepreneurs to create complementary classes: Establishing a Writing Practice, Planning Your Semester, Dealing with Reviewer Comments. These were delivered using the same conference line and recorded for participants.
By the summer of 2015, I wanted to find a way to share the class recordings and materials so that clients could use them as needed. I was entering a very intense time in my personal life and knew my capacity for synchronous delivery would be limited. I decided to create a members only website, the Academic Writing Studio.
Once my life settled down, I was able to offer synchronous classes regularly and add monthly Office Hours to provide group coaching and build community. I experimented with different classes, including regular planning classes. In late 2019, I switched from a telephone conference line to Zoom. When the Covid pandemic really hit, the value of the Studio became more obvious.
A new crisis, this time more generalized, prompted further changes. Through the first 6 months of the COVID pandemic, I experimented with more frequent Office Hours and tried to adapt the planning classes to suit the new context. It became obvious that the format I was using for planning classes was bursting at the seams. There were so many things affecting members’ ability to find and protect time for writing, and so many variations in members’ circumstances. Frequent Office Hours helped but were unsustainable for me.
By the summer of 2020, I realized that I needed a radical shake up. A Meeting With Your Writing would remain unchanged, and the classes would be optimized for coaching and community support. The website would also get a major overhaul.
Focus and Growth
In 2021, my priority has been to improve the Studio by building on what’s working and refocusing on supporting your writing: finding and protecting time for writing and using that time effectively, without overworking. We introduced a new registration process and a new pricing structure. Synchronous events are at the heart of the Studio. Classes have been redesigned to focus on coaching and community support.
To accommodate the wide variation in academic calendars, the cycle of planning classes has been shifted to calendar quarters, beginning the academic writing year in the northern hemisphere summer. I’m still experimenting with other classes to complement this cycle, focusing initially on helping members use their writing time effectively.
The new website design includes a classes function that will enable me to add asynchronous classes. Office Hours has the flexibility to provide coaching support for a wide range of issues. My intention is to gradually build up the number of resources and improve them through live iterations.
I realized that I needed help to deliver this well. I’ve added regular hosts for A Meeting With Your Writing, and brought on a co-host for synchronous classes. The current team started out as occasional cover for my holidays. Both of them have been members of the Studio themselves and fully understand the ethos.
I’ve also invited people with specific expertise to contribute resources.
Alexandra Murphy, Yoga in the High Peak, has made a series of very short videos to help you incorporate stretching and self-massage into your day. They are ideal for addressing those parts of your body that get stiff when you are sitting writing for a while.