After yesterday’s jam-packed day of introductions, workshops, and Tai Chi, today it was time to begin writing in earnest. The morning began with us setting our goals for the day, with some being more ambitious than others. Fuelled by coffee (in our personally named EdJoWriWe mugs, of course!), we then set out to try and achieve these targets.
Throughout the week, there are four different rooms available for participants to write in. The most popular room today proved to be the ‘quiet room’, with eight participants choosing to write in there, including myself. We have been mostly silent and working throughout the day, but some injections of humour into our writing sessions fostered a sense of collaboration. Before lunch we were anticipating the arrival of the much-lauded goat’s cheese sandwiches (including a Twitter countdown). And Peter Cherry initiated a bout of punning involving names of classical composers. Despite the impression this might give of a lack of work being done ('I should be Wagner finger at you for not working' - Mr E. P. Thanisch), several of us have been progressing well on our targets, although some more than others.
Our fantastic workshop leaders for the week, Professors Lisa Surridge and Mary Elizabeth Leighton, have their own room in which they can get on with their own work and meet with the participants for one-on-one appointments. I met with them early this morning to discuss my work-in-progress. I cannot say enough how much I appreciate the advice they gave me. They shared with me valuable tips and feedback both on my style of writing and on the structure of my argument that will definitely help me to greatly improve my work. I’m very much looking forward to their lectures and writing clinics which are to come later in the week, on ‘how to begin’, clarity of language, and clarity of argument.
Three of our participants sit in the ‘café atmosphere’ room, diligently working away with the added advantage of being nearer to the tea and coffee supplies. As I’m writing this, the view from the window shows the sun shining on George Square gardens, but only a mere half an hour ago hail was thundering down. The delights of Edinburgh weather in April!
In the music room, the sun is also shining through the window as the music of Czech composer Smetana plays gently in the background (and George informs the room that 'smetana' is Russian for sour cream). Breaking into occasional conversation, the three participants working in here assure me that they are making good progress, with one reading, one writing an ‘analytical plot summary’ (term coined by Lisa and Mary Elizabeth) and one working on an article outline, making use of some of the techniques that we learnt in Lisa and Mary Elizabeth’s publication workshop yesterday. We agree that these techniques have made the whole process of writing a journal article both more accessible and more achievable.
In our silent room, we have one participant. The room is isolated from the others by virtue of being upstairs, allowing for complete silence. The only noise to be heard apart from occasional typing is the ticking of the clock, reminding me that we only have 14 minutes left until we meet to discuss whether we met our goals for the day. With this in mind, I go back downstairs to work frantically for the next 14 minutes and wonder whether I was too ambitious with my targets!