This week, we’re spotlighting David Young and Scott Morris, two Ph.D. candidates in English who facilitate our Graduate Student Writing Groups. These writing groups meet for three hours each week in the Graduate Center. During their meetings, participants check in on their writing goals and write independently.
What made you decide to join/facilitate a Graduate Student Writing Group?
David: Even though I lead a writing group, I consider myself more of a member. I have the same writing struggles that most have. I figured that a writing group setting could mutually benefit everyone who participates.
Scott: Before I wanted to lead a group, I was just excited about the idea of there being a group. And, since I already wanted to be in a group that would hold me accountable for my writing, it made sense to agree to lead it because I thought that my experience with the writing process might help other people, too.
What has been the most valuable part of the writing group for you?
David: I’ve become protective of my own writing time, which I think is the most beneficial lesson. When life and other professional responsibilities come up, we can easily move our own work to the bottom of our to-do list. Setting aside dedicated writing time (even if it’s only a few hours per week) helps to keep yourself accountable for your own writing goals. Protecting this time from other things that come up has helped me ensure that I consistently meet deadlines as well as the writing goals that I’ve set for myself.
Scott: One of the things that has been most helpful is remembering that other people are going through similar issues that I am. We all struggle with the long-haul nature of dissertations and theses: research, drafting, coordinating with chairs, revising, editing. Though this can look different for different disciplines, it was helpful for me to be in a room with other people who were doing what I was doing and having support to celebrate the successes and encourage me through the difficulties.
If someone is unsure whether they’d like to join a writing group, what advice would you give them?
David : Join. The writing groups are flexible enough to accommodate a variety of writing needs. You’ll also have an opportunity to connect with other professionals across campus whom you might not have met otherwise. We connect once a week and help each other meet the writing goals that we’ve set together.
Scott: If you feel like you would be motivated by the camaraderie and the weekly accountability, then do it. If you feel that your best motivation would be one-on-one support with another writer, then I recommend setting up regular writing consultations with the Graduate Student Writing Center.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell graduate students at Texas Tech about writing groups in general or these writing groups specifically?
David: Writing groups allow people to bond over mutual need to write. For some, having set time every week to write is beneficial. For others, the environment created by people working on projects is motivating. Regardless, come join us in a writing group to see how we can help.
Scott: We’re really friendly and we’re here to help you get your stuff done, and done well! I hope you’ll join in.
If a student is interested in learning more or joining a writing group, who should they contact?
David: For all things in life, ask Dr. Messuri (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Scott: David or I are the point of contact for specific groups and are both happy to answer questions as we can.
Participation in Graduate Student Writing Groups is done by application at the beginning of each semester. To join a group during Summer 2017, please apply at https://goo.gl/forms/kV6EHSYo5FrihTsm1 . Applications are due Friday, May 26 at 5:00 PM.