Writing Groups

Looking for information about summer writing groups? Visit this page. The information below will be updated in mid-August for Fall 2022. 

The Writing Center is offering several options for weekly graduate and undergraduate writing groups this spring, including registered writing groups that require regular attendance, and drop-in writing groups (attend when you’re available). Led by experienced instructors, these groups provide an opportunity for sustained writing practice within a community of other student writers. Spring 2022 writing groups will take place in one of the following modes:

  • in-person
  • online/fully virtual
  • a hybrid format, with both in-person and online/virtual attendees (you can choose your attendance mode each week)

Spring writing groups will begin meeting in Week 3 of the semester (the week of Feb. 7-11, 2022) and continue meeting through Week 15 (the week of May 2-6, 2022). No groups will meet during spring break (the week of Mar. 14-18, 2022).

To be considered for a Spring 2022 writing group, please fill out this form:

Writing Group Interest Form

Forms received by Monday, January 31, at 12 p.m. CT will receive priority consideration. Forms received after this date will be considered for additional openings or for our waitlist. 

We will notify you about your writing group assignment by Friday, February 4. Your facilitator will follow up with a welcome message that includes logistical information about your group’s meeting space(s). If you have any questions about our writing groups, please email Jenny Conrad, Writing Groups Coordinator.

Keep reading to find out more about our writing group lineup for Spring 2022!

About the Undergraduate Writing Groups

Do you have a lot of writing to do this semester? Would you like encouragement and a supportive space as you navigate your writing project(s)? Join a small group of other students from across the university at relaxed meetings where you’ll have the opportunity to log dedicated writing time each week and work through challenges with a community of your peers! A Writing Center instructor will help you set goals, structure your work time, and check in about your progress each week.

We are excited to share that the Writing Center is offering the following options for weekly undergraduate writing groups this spring. Led by friendly, experienced instructors, these writing groups will provide an opportunity for sustained writing support within a community of other undergraduate student writers. In each week’s writing group meeting, you’ll have plenty of time to work independently on your writing assignments or course projects.

Please click on the title of any group below to read its full description.

Undergraduate Writing Groups

  • Tuesday Afternoon Undergraduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 4 to 5:30 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: online/fully virtual
    Facilitator: Samitha Senanayake

    Are you looking for a chance to get writing done in a supportive setting with fellow undergrads? This group will help you carve out one hour of structured time in your week for writing, and also give you a chance to talk to fellow undergraduates about writing questions, struggles, and strategies for overcoming them. You can choose to work on an extended project such as an undergraduate thesis, on your weekly course assignments, or any kind of writing you’d like. Our time each week will be divided as follows: 

    First 15 minutes: sharing goals
    One hour: getting writing done
    Last 15 minutes: celebrating what everyone got done that day!

    The facilitator, Samitha, will be available throughout the writing time for 15 minute individual consults, to brainstorm ideas for a paper, answer a quick question about citation, discuss available writing center resources or any other question about writing you might have. We hope you’ll consider joining us online, and we look forward to supporting you and your writing!

  • Wednesday Afternoon Undergraduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 4 to 5:30 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: in person
    Location: Multicultural Student Center, Red Gym
    Facilitator: Chris Kelly

    It’s time we all came out and said it. We don’t like writing. It’s hard, often unrewarding, and worst of all, lonely. If you’re looking for a community and setting that understands this, that is willing to share frustrations as often as it is willing to share victories and offer support, this group is for you. This writing group offers a weekly time and space for you to get writing done in the company of a community of fellow undergraduate students. You can choose to work on an extended project such as an undergraduate thesis, on your weekly course assignments, or any kind of writing you’d like. Our time each week will be divided as follows:

    First 15 minutes: sharing goals and frustrations
    One hour: getting writing done (while also struggling because of course it’s a struggle)
    Last 15 minutes: celebrating each other’s victories over writing

    The facilitator, Chris, will be available throughout the writing time to talk with you about what you are working on, to answer any questions and, most importantly, to listen about any problems you might be encountering with this work. So, in the writing group you will always have a writing center instructor on hand to discuss your writing every week without having to make an appointment! We hope you’ll consider joining us, and we look forward to supporting you and your writing!

  • Thursday Afternoon Writing Group for Students with Disabilities

    Meeting time: 1-3 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week), plus drop-ins welcome
    Mode: online, with potential in-person meeting space available later on
    Location: TBD, and online
    Facilitator: Ellen Cecil-Lemkin

    Co-sponsored by the McBurney Disability Resource Center, this writing group offers a supportive community of writers for anyone who identifies as having a mental health concern, Disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent, and/or are affiliated with the McBurney Center. (Being affiliated with the McBurney Center is not a requirement to join this group.) During our first meeting together, we’ll establish our group’s goals and structure beyond having dedicated time for setting writing goals and writing. Additionally, during the allotted writing time, the facilitator (Ellen) will be available for brief one-to-one conferences with participants to help them think through writing strategies, set goals, brainstorm ideas, and get an outsider's perspective on their writing. Please note that this group's first meeting will take place in Week 4 of classes, or on Thursday, February 17.

About the Graduate Writing Groups

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.

Drop-in writing groups are open to all on a weekly basis, although we encourage you to fill out our interest form so that you can receive up-to-date information from your facilitator. Participants are welcome to attend drop-in groups in addition to signing up for a registered group.

Please click on the title of any group below to read its full description.

Graduate Writing Groups

  • Monday Morning Graduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: online / fully virtual
    Facilitator: Lisa Marvel Johnson

    The Monday graduate morning writing group will connect each week at 9 a.m. on Google Docs, where you will note your goals for your writing. At 9:05, we will convene synchronously through Zoom to chat about a discussion question related to the writing process, time management, the technology we use to accomplish our writing tasks, and other relevant topics. We may answer these questions in small groups, through the chat feature of Zoom, or in large-group discussion. Between 9:15 and 11:45, you’ll get words down in order to accomplish your writing goals, and Lisa will be available for short one-to-one conferences. At 11:45, you’ll take a moment to note your progress on our Google Doc. Our final Zoom check-in will be from 11:50 to noon. In these closing minutes we’ll troubleshoot any writing issues that you may have encountered and will celebrate your accomplishments.

  • Tuesday Morning Drop-in Graduate Writing Group for Second Language Writers

    Meeting time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT
    Format: drop-in (attend when you’re available)
    Mode: hybrid, virtual participation with option to gather in our physical space
    Facilitator: Dottie Mayne

    This hybrid (in-person and online) 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. This group aims to provide you with the most flexible options possible. As a drop-in group, you can come any week(s) the group works for you. Regardless of whether you join us in person or online, our group opening and closing sessions will take place on Zoom. Each week we’ll have a 15-minute opening where we’ll use a Google Doc to set and share goals and consider a writing or wellness-related prompt in groups. Our opening and closing sessions will be framed around weekly themes like asking for help, editing for errors with articles, and strategies for growing your vocabulary. During the writing time, your facilitator, Dottie, will be available both in person and online to chat about your work. We’ll close with sharing (on our Google Doc and on Zoom) what we accomplished and consider a question to help us transition away from working and into the rest of our day.

  • Wednesday Morning Graduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: in person
    Location: Helen C. White Hall, 6th floor (multiple rooms)
    Facilitator: Abby Letak

    The Monday graduate morning writing group will connect each week at 9 a.m. on Google Docs, where you will note your goals for your writing. At 9:05, we will convene synchronously through Zoom to chat about a discussion question related to the writing process, time management, the technology we use to accomplish our writing tasks, and other relevant topics. We may answer these questions in small groups, through the chat feature of Zoom, or in large-group discussion. Between 9:15 and 11:45, you’ll get words down in order to accomplish your writing goals, and Lisa will be available for short one-to-one conferences. At 11:45, you’ll take a moment to note your progress on our Google Doc. Our final Zoom check-in will be from 11:50 to noon. In these closing minutes we’ll troubleshoot any writing issues that you may have encountered and will celebrate your accomplishments.

  • Wednesday Evening Graduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 5 to 8 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: hybrid, virtual participation with option to gather in our physical space
    Location: Helen C. White Hall, 6th floor, and online
    Facilitator: Dottie Mayne

    This evening graduate writing group is dedicated to providing graduate students with community, accountability, and focused writing time in the most flexible format possible: hybrid, in-person, and virtual. Each week you can decide if you’d like to meet with us in Helen C. White Hall to get some in-person contact, socialization, and peer pressure (because it can be easier to stay on task when other people who know what you’re planning to work on can see your screen). Or you can decide to join us virtually to enjoy the advantages of working wherever you want (because the food you have at home is already paid for and all your books are there too). Regardless of whether you join us in-person or virtually, each week we’ll gather in Zoom for a 15-minute opening where we’ll use a Google Doc to set and share goals and consider a writing or wellness-related prompt in groups. Then we’ll have sustained writing time, during which your facilitator, Dottie, will be available (both in person and virtually) to chat about your work. We’ll close with sharing (on our Google Doc and on Zoom) what we accomplished and consider a question to help us transition away from working and into the rest of our evening.

  • Wednesday Evening AOF Scholars Writing Group

    Meeting time: 5 to 8 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: hybrid, virtual participation with option to gather in our physical space
    Location: Helen C. White Hall, 6th floor, and online
    Facilitator: Gabbi Kelenyi

    Generously funded by the College of Letters and Science and facilitated by the Writing Center, the AOF Scholars Writing Group offers a terrific opportunity for AOF Scholars from ANY UW-Madison college, department, or program to come together in community, be productive, and support one another in their writing projects, whether seminar papers, conference presentations, dissertation chapters, job market materials, or anything else. This semester, the AOF Writing Group will adopt a hybrid model, meeting in person in Helen C. White Hall (6th floor) AND via Zoom each week. During meetings, group members will share writing goals for the session, write for the majority of the time, and have the opportunity to meet with other group members to give and receive feedback. Additionally, during the allotted writing time, the facilitator (Gabbi) will be available for brief one-to-one conferences with participants to help them set goals, brainstorm ideas, get unstuck, and provide an outsider's perspective on their writing.

  • Thursday Afternoon Writing Group for Students with Disabilities

    Meeting time: 1-3 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week), plus drop-ins welcome
    Mode: online, with potential in-person meeting space available later on
    Location: TBD, and online
    Facilitator: Ellen Cecil-Lemkin

    Co-sponsored by the McBurney Disability Resource Center, this writing group offers a supportive community of writers for anyone who identifies as having a mental health concern, Disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent, and/or are affiliated with the McBurney Center. (Being affiliated with the McBurney Center is not a requirement to join this group.) During our first meeting together, we’ll establish our group’s goals and structure beyond having dedicated time for setting writing goals and writing. Additionally, during the allotted writing time, the facilitator (Ellen) will be available for brief one-to-one conferences with participants to help them think through writing strategies, set goals, brainstorm ideas, and get an outsider's perspective on their writing. Please note that this group's first meeting will take place in Week 4 of classes, or on Thursday, February 17.

  • Friday Morning Drop-in Graduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT
    Format: drop-in (attend when you’re available)
    Mode: hybrid, virtual participation with option to gather in our physical space
    Location: Helen C. White Hall, 6th floor, and online
    Facilitator: Luke Urbain

    This drop-in writing group for graduate students will meet virtually and in person on Friday mornings. Join once in anticipation of a deadline or make a habit of attending every week. We will share goals, think through strategies for building a sustainable writing practice, and commiserate during brief opening and closing sessions. The bulk of each session is reserved for dedicated writing time. Meetings will take place both in-person and online, so participants can choose to have the structure of dedicated writing space or the comfort of home.

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