Writing Retreats

Carving out time to do serious academic writing during the semester can be tough. The Writing Center’s (virtual) Graduate Writing Retreats are here to help!

The Writing Center and the Graduate Student Senate sponsor days to write during the semester. The goal of this initiative is to provide accountability and support for participants to get writing done. These sessions are not writing instruction; instead, the goal is writing productivity.

Due to procedures implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, spring 2021 writing retreats will happen online.

We encourage you to stay all day, but you're welcome to also drop in and out as your schedule permits.

Event Details:
Modality: Virtual (Microsoft Teams)
Next Retreat: Saturday, February 27, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: FREE for UConn graduate students (but you must register below)

Schedule

All day: Open writing time
9:05-9:30 a.m.:
Morning meeting
10:00-10:50 a.m.: Focus session 1
12:00-12:50 p.m.: Lunch workshop: "Literature Reviews"
1:00-1:50 p.m.: Focus session 2
3:00-3:50 p.m.: Focus session 3
4:10-4:30 p.m.: Afternoon debrief and resource sharing

Activity Descriptions

All of the activities on the schedule are completely optional. You don't have to participate in any of them if you don't want to; you can just log into the retreat and write! You can also opt in to just one or two of the activities without participating in others.

Open Writing Time
Once you're logged in to the writing retreat's Microsoft Team, you can spend as much of the day as you want writing. What's important is that you will know you are writing alongside others, even if physically separated. Feel free to post questions about a sentence you're writing or share a meme about your current writing mood on MS Teams' "General Channel" to interact with the community of other UConn grad writers at the retreat. Meanwhile, if you do better writing quietly but with community, we'll have an open video call you can hop onto throughout the day. If you're feeling stuck, you can jump into any of the optional sessions that will take place throughout the day, which are described below.

Morning Meeting
During our brief morning meeting (a video call on MS Teams), the Coordinator of Graduate Writing Support will introduce how the retreat will run and overview the Teams platform if you're not familiar with it. We'll also introduce ourselves and do some goal-setting to define what each of us wants to accomplish during the retreat. All participants are strongly encouraged to attend the morning meeting.

Focus Sessions
There will be three focus sessions throughout the day. The goal of the focus sessions is to set a short and achievable task for yourself and then get it done within the next hour by holding yourself accountable with another peer writer. You'll match with one or two other peer writers on a video call through Teams. At the start of the session, you'll each quickly outline your goal for the focus session. Then, with your camera still on, you'll write for the next 45 minutes. At the end of the session, you'll quickly debrief with your partner and assess your progress. Take a 10 minute break after the focus session before getting back to work or joining a new retreat activity.

Lunch Workshop: "Literature Reviews"
Pick up some tips for writing lit reviews during our lunch workshop! Get your lunch ready before or during this workshop, facilitated by the Coordinator of Graduate Writing Support—and don't worry, being on camera is totally optional! There will be some interactive exercises to practice your lit review skills.

Afternoon Debrief
At the end of the day, you may want a chance to decompress and reflect on how the day went for you. This session is intended both as a chance to "vent" and to celebrate the accomplishments of the writing community. We'll share the writing strategies that you found helpful today and would like to take with you into your next writing task or session as well as resources and tools that can make writing time more productive.

Accountability Partners
If you'd like an accountability partner to help you keep on track with your writing goals both during the retreat and after it, you can sign up to get matched with someone when you register. You'll be introduced to each other by email, and you'll be encouraged to "meet up" at some point during the retreat to discuss goals and plan regular check-ins. In order to be matched with an accountability partner, you must register at least 3 days before the retreat begins.

Word Count Tracking
Do you need frequent accountability checks to help you stay on task? Do you find a little friendly competition motivating? If you sign up for word count tracking, you'll be invited to share your current word counts throughout the day. If that sounds like it would make you anxious, don't worry; word count tracking is only visible to those who opt in to this activity.

If you have questions about writing retreats, please email gradwriting@uconn.edu