The Academic Writing Studio is a service of Jo VanEvery, Academic Career Guide. My vision is to provide a community for academics at all stages of career and in all types of employment that supports you as you juggle teaching, research & writing, service to your scholarly community, institution, students, and colleagues, and a rich home and community life.
The Studio moved to it’s own domain in 2018 but it started long before. Information about what we do and how to join can be found on the home page.
It all started with A Meeting With Your Writing
Back in 2011, I (Jo) was trying to figure out how to shift away from mainly helping Canadian academics apply for grants towards something that would address some of the underlying issues I was seeing when doing that work. As a solo entrepreneur who worked from home I’d been attending Office Spa Days run by Jennifer Hofmann (who has now moved on to do something else) and trained as a volunteer host. I began to wonder if that model would work for academic writers. I talked to a couple of friends and clients who were encouraging and A Meeting With Your Writing was born.
In the autumn semester of 2011, you could only sign up for the entire semester. The idea was that you were making a commitment to yourself to write every week (or almost every week) for a whole semester. A Meeting With Your Writing would make it easier to keep that commitment.
I had no idea if it would work. I figured the worst case scenario would be that only 2 or 3 people signed up and I would resent being committed to hosting meetings every week for 16 weeks for not very much income. I rationalised that whatever happened I would get to write for 90 minutes every week. In the end, more than 3 people signed up. Some of those people are still attending 7 years later.
Adding related classes
Over the next few years I experimented with holding Meetings at different times in the week. I also created some classes on related subjects using a delivery model popular among online entrepreneurs: a conference call recorded so attendees could revisit the class and those who could not attend live could do it on their own. These classes included
- Establishing A Writing Practice (that works for you)
- Dealing with Criticism
- Dealing with SSHRC Comments (because I was still mainly helping people with grant applications)
Then I started creating Planning Your Semester and Planning Your Break (again based on some of the things Jennifer Hofmann was doing in what had become The Creative Haven). I gave a talk to my local women’s business network called Juggling 101. That talk helped me develop some of my ideas around not only finding time for writing, but also finding time to do all the work tasks and life stuff without getting burnt out.
From a bunch of classes to a Studio
In the summer of 2015, I decided to create a members only website to make it easier for those who participate in A Meeting With Your Writing to access some of those recordings. I called it the Academic Writing Studio and created other resources including an online forum in the hopes of building more of a community. I had also finally decided to stop taking on grant proposal development clients and focus on building the coaching side of my business.
The summer of 2015 also marks a turning point in a very intense time in my personal life. A Meeting With Your Writing and the Academic Writing Studio became the maintenance mode for my business. It gave some structure to my life at a time when everything else was changing. The personal stuff culminated in moving from Ontario to England in May 2016, which also explains why my main website has a .ca domain and the studio website has a .co.uk domain.
Through all of this A Meeting With Your Writing at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Mondays has been a constant. I’ve experimented with additional times and settled on 10 a.m. Eastern on Thursdays to provide an alternative that works in time zones from the west coast of North America to Western Europe and enables those who can devote more than 2 hours a week to writing an opportunity to attend more than once. I’ve also added an earlier time zone to enable those in Europe, UK, and similar time zones to benefit from writing on Monday morning, something long time participants have told me has knock-on benefits for the rest of the week.
Once settled in the UK, I started leading live Planning classes at the key transition points in the academic year and added monthly Office Hours to provide opportunities to get coaching support and build community. I send out a weekly newsletter to Studio members and the forum (called the Members Lounge) is becoming more active.
Moving the Studio to it’s own site allowed me to improve the navigation and continue to grow this community. Join us!