Graduate Student Writing Retreat

Published: May 14, 2018

On a cloudy spring Saturday 500 Internal Server Error

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Everybody settled into a peaceful state by practicing a listening meditation, led by Helga Zambrano. The writing space was fully equipped with coffee, lunch, and snacks to fuel energy levels throughout the day––long after that initial exercise.

Participants next defined their SMART writing goals and began timed writing sessions à la Pomodoro Technique. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. Pomodoro is a method of breaking work into intervals, usually twenty-five minutes in length with five-minute pauses.

The results? After eight so-called “Pomodoros”—in other words, four hours of focused and undistracted writing!—everyone had broken new ground in terms of productivity. Friendly faces of support had likewise fostered an atmosphere of general encouragement.

A day of diligence, nonetheless, still left time for a nourishing lunch break, chit-chat and stretching––not to mentioned a group hike at the end of the day!

More than just a “writing best practices” workshop, this retreat combined academic progress, community building, general wellness, and self-care. Together they helped to reimagine the (very) hard work of academic writing as a collaborative enterprise.

This retreat was organized by Helga Zambrano and hosted at the home of Jason Araujo.