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The Writing Gym’s first virtual bootcamp for doctoral researchers is a success

Between 25-28 January 2021, The Writing Gym Team ran their fourth PhD Writing Bootcamp for doctoral researchers.

This student-led initiative is headed by Katie Woodhouse-Skinner from the English, Emma Bates from Geography and Environment, Vani Naik from the School of Business and Economics, and Kristina Gavran from the Creative Arts.

The virtual writing-retreat provided doctoral researchers with the opportunity to  'turbo-charge' their writing as one participant put it, by setting word goals for the Bootcamp and holding each other accountable for them in a social space. The days were broken up into 45 minute focused writing sessions and 10-15 minute breaks, with time in between to chat with fellow researchers. Participants came together in breakout groups to share tips, tricks, and resources they had gathered and find strategies for managing research in the current climate.

Run for the first time in a virtual setting, the Bootcamp provided a much-needed sense of community, structure, and accountability for researchers working on their thesis. There is a clear need for this, with applications for the course up by 210 percent at the same time last year.

Working from home as a researcher can be isolating, and participants praised the course for its 'lovely and energetic administrators, the networking and the comradery of writing together with like-minded individuals'. One participant remarked that 'it was really good to meet other PhD students and hear their experiences and ways of working productively. It definitely helped me hold myself accountable for my work and I left both days feeling like I have progressed well'. 100 percent of participants said they would attend another Bootcamp and would recommend the course to a fellow doctoral researcher.

Given the success of their latest PhD Writing Bootcamp Katie, Emma, Vani and Kristina are looking to plan another later this academic year. They would also encourage PhD students seeking a research and writing community to join them for their weekly Writing Gym session on Mondays between 10am-12pmvia Teams. You can find out more about the Writing Gym here and you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.