First up, some headline figures. We can confirm that two papers that took shape during EdJoWriWe have been submitted to journals. Another is being prepared for submission after a successful airing at a conference. A fourth was always going to be a thesis chapter rather than an article but, as such, it has reportedly been ‘banked’ to the author’s satisfaction.
Two further participants met with less success at finishing a single piece of writing during EdJoWriWe itself. In one case, the participant decided in the course of the week that the piece would not be viable as an article at this time and instead consolidated their research into a database. They report that this has proved a useful tool subsequently. The other participant (i.e. the present writer) made several further attempts to finish their article satisfactorily in the weeks following EdJoWriWe but eventually decided that both their approach and the material involved required fundamental revision; essentially, a completely different article needed to be written.
On the whole, therefore, the projects on which work was done during EdJoWriWe tended to run smoothly and in the right direction. However, when asked what, if any, impact EdJoWriWe had had on their work, participants tended to identify more holistic improvements in their overall working practices rather than to the success of the week’s particular project. One participant spoke of something being “unlocked” within her. Participants were pleasantly surprised by what could be achieved when they concentrated on getting words onto the page, as opposed to editing with a view to perfecting as they went along. More effective control of work and a finer ability to identify and deal with sources of distraction were also mentioned. The public accountability involved in writing as a group was suggested as the initial factor in this. In the words of one participant, “I think the clearing of distractions, the emphasis on writing as thinking, and the commitment to get words on the page first and think about their arrangement later were all helpful and will be useful in the future”. The advice from the various visiting professionals on the wider world of academic publishing was also appreciated and respondents reported feeling more confident and less “like a fraud” (!) as researchers.
We are very happy that participants feel EdJoWriWe has been beneficial and are pleased that it played a role in some pieces reaching publication. Once again, we pay tribute to the endeavour and good humour of all involved. The lesson that can perhaps be taken from our participants’ experiences in retrospect is that experimenting with one’s writing practices and environment can have a very positive impact even if not on the piece of work at hand. In that connection, we would like to highlight to readers from the University of Edinburgh the continued existence of EdJoWriWe, under new management, in the form of LLCWrites! (http://edjowriwe.weebly.com/llc-writes.html), running monthly during term. For readers elsewhere, on the basis of the latest evidence, we can only continue to recommend this kind of workshop and hope you can find (or have found...) one near you (for a start, try http://thesiswhisperer.com/shut-up-and-write/).
We remain unsure of the precise outcome of the operation in which #edjowriwesatellite was engaged during EdJoWriWe itself but we are delighted to report that, on 30th September 2014, she splashed down safely in the southern Atlantic Ocean after a successful overall mission. To step out of the metaphor for a moment, we mean that she handed in her Ph.D thesis..