Graduate Writing Groups

Structured Writing Time for Large Projects

At the Writing Center, we believe that community and accountability, along with setting achievable goals, play a significant role in completing major writing projects. Past participants in our weekly graduate writing groups have finished proposals, chapters, articles, and have even defended their dissertations! Since the Writing Center wants to help you achieve these milestones, we offer graduate students space and time each week to maximize their productivity. Each three-hour meeting begins with goal setting and ends with brief discussions about writing strategies and accomplishments. The bulk of each meeting, however, is devoted to structured writing time so that you can make substantial progress on your writing projects.

The Writing Center is offering several options for weekly graduate writing groups this spring, including (a) registered groups that require weekly attendance, and (b) drop-in writing groups (see below for full descriptions of each group). Led by experienced instructors, these groups provide an opportunity for sustained writing practice within a community of other graduate student writers. All Spring 2021 writing groups are taking place virtually with options for synchronous, real-time (video, audio, text-based) engagement.

Writing groups began meeting in Week 3 of the semester (the week of Feb. 8-12) and will continue to meet through Week 14 (the week of Apr. 26-30).

  • Monday Morning Graduate Writing Group
    Meeting time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST
    Format: Registered (same attendees each week, attendance required)
    Facilitator: varies from week to week
  • Tuesday Morning Graduate Writing Group
    Meeting day/time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST
    Format: Registered (same attendees each week)
    Facilitator: Lisa Marvel Johnson
  • Tuesday Evening Graduate Writing Group
    Meeting time: 6:00-9:00 PM CST
    Format: Registered (same attendees each week, attendance required)
    Facilitator: Dottie Mayne
  • Wednesday Morning Graduate Writing Group for Second Language Writers
    Meeting time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST
    Format: Drop-in (attend when you’re available)
    Facilitator: Dottie Mayne

    This drop-in graduate writing group is for graduate students for whom English is a second language. Whether you’ve been writing in English as a second language since primary school, you’ve recently started doing academic work in English, or anything in between, you will be able to find community with your peers through this group. We will meet via Zoom, with synchronous opening and closing sessions utilizing audio and video. We will also use a collaborative Google Doc to share our goals for our writing sessions and to frame opening and closing sessions around weekly themes like editing for errors with articles, asking for help, and strategies for growing your vocabulary. In addition, there will be options to schedule brief, one-to-one conferences with the facilitator during this group’s meeting time over the course of the semester.

    No pre-registration is required for this group. Simply visit this link by 9:00 on the Wednesdays that you can make it. If you have any questions about the Wednesday drop-in writing group, please contact Dottie Mayne at dmayne@wisc.edu.

  • Wednesday Afternoon Graduate Writing Group
    Meeting day/time: Wednesdays, 1:00-4:00 PM CST
    Format: Registered (same attendees each week, attendance required)
    Facilitator: Ellen Cecil-Lemkin
  • Wednesday Evening Graduate Writing Group for AOF Scholars
    Meeting day/time: Wednesdays, 5:00-8:00 PM CST
    Format: Registered (same attendees each week)
    Facilitator: Gabbi Kelenyi
  • Thursday Morning Graduate Writing Group
    Meeting time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST
    Format: Registered (same attendees each week)
    Facilitator: Chrissy Widmayer
  • Friday Morning Graduate Writing Group
    Meeting time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST
    Format: Drop-in (attend when you’re available)
    Facilitator: Angela Zito

    The Writing Center welcomes all UW-Madison graduate students to join us on Friday mornings from 9:00-12:00 to work on writing projects of any kind. Together, we will share our writing goals and accomplishments and support one another in getting a substantial amount of writing done—and ideally feel guilt-free going into the weekend!No pre-registration is required for this group.

    Simply visit this link by 9:00 on the Fridays that you can make it. All we ask of you is to: (a) be on time and plan to stay for the entire three hours; (b) be ready to write with a laptop and any other materials you may need; and (c) be prepared to share your goals and accomplishments with other group members.

    If you have any questions about the Friday drop-in grad writing group, please contact Angela Zito at azito@wisc.edu. Thanks and we hope to see you on an upcoming Friday!

Note that our priority deadline for joining a registered graduate writing group this spring has passed. Additional applications will be considered on a rolling basis. If you would like to be considered for a spot in an existing group, please complete this interest form.

In the meantime, if you have questions about writing groups, please email Jenny Conrad at jlconrad@wisc.edu.

What people are saying about writing groups:

“I took part in graduate writing groups four semesters in a row and going once a week to these groups is what kept me writing and eventually what allowed me to graduate. I loved being part of a community of writers who inspired me and kept me accountable.”

—Sandrine P., Second Language Acquisition

 

“Throughout my time as a grad student, writing group has been a vital space to get work done without destroying myself in the process. Beyond offering a dedicated space and time, it gave me a compassionate, endlessly inspiring group of facilitators and peers with whom I have commiserated and celebrated just about every part of the writing process, from outlining seminar papers to submitting dissertation chapters.”

—Luke U., Spanish & Portuguese

 

“The Writing Center writing groups provided me structure, accountability, community, all of which helped me write my prelim, dissertation proposal, a (funded) grant application, and two journal articles. In my last semester, the Tuesday morning writing group was instrumental in finishing my dissertation. I am so grateful for the support of my fellow graduate students and to the writing center staff!”

—Emma, School of Social Work

 

“I decided to apply for the graduate writing group this semester because I know that I write best when working while surrounded by other quiet, hard-working people. I was looking for a space and time I could dedicate to writing that could provide those requirements, and the grad writing group definitely fit the bill. I would recommend the grad writing group to anyone who is struggling to carve out a time and space for writing on any project.”

—Sarah G., Chemistry

 

“I used the writing group as a way to be accountable and to have a positive and supportive writing space. The writing groups helped me prepare for and tackle prelims because I had a dedicated space and time for them. Talking at the beginning with other students really helped to see that I wasn’t alone in the process, and I really enjoyed the little ‘tidbits’ of information and writing strategies we did at the beginning of sessions.”

—Kate M., Curriculum & Instruction

 

“I use the writing groups to incorporate accountability into my weekly writing. By checking in with colleagues at the start and end of each group meeting, I have a mechanism for recording my progress, identifying challenges, and troubleshooting difficulties.”

—Fred B., Biostatistics

 

“I joined the writing groups to get a fixed block of writing time every week as a dissertator. These groups help me reach my goals by “forcing” me to think about writing goals and sit down and write for 2.5 hours per week. I would recommend these groups to others because it is so hard to protect one’s writing time and writing groups have been an effective solution for me.”

—Junhao L., Risk and Insurance