Writing Groups

The Writing Center is offering several options for weekly graduate and undergraduate writing groups this fall, 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. Fall 2021 writing groups will take place in one of the three 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)

This fall, writing groups begin meeting in Week 3 (the week of Sept. 20-24) and continue meeting through Week 14 (the week of Dec. 5-10). Writing groups will not meet on any day that is identified as a “no classes” day on the official university calendar (e.g., Thanksgiving recess, which is Nov. 25-28).

To be considered for a Fall 2021 writing group, please fill out this form:

Writing Group Interest Form

Forms received by Sunday, September 12, at 11:59 p.m. CT will receive priority consideration. Forms received after this date will be considered for additional openings or for our waitlist. 

We will let you know your writing group assignment by Thursday, September 16, and you’ll receive follow-up communication from your facilitator, including logistics about your meeting space(s), before your group’s first scheduled meeting. 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 Fall 2021!

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 two options for weekly undergraduate writing groups this fall. Led by friendly, experienced instructors, these in-person writing groups will provide an opportunity for sustained writing support within a community of other undergraduate student writers.

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

Undergraduate Writing Groups

  • Monday Afternoon Undergraduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 1 to 2:30 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week), plus drop-ins welcome
    Mode: online / fully virtual
    Facilitator: Hadis Ghaedi

    This online undergraduate writing group provides you a supportive environment to get your writing done along with fellow undergrads. You can choose to work on your weekly course assignments, application essays, an undergraduate thesis, or any kind of writing you’d like. Each Monday afternoon, we’ll meet together on Zoom to establish our writing goals for the day on a shared Google Doc (15 minutes), and then, spend the majority of the time writing (one hour), and at the end of our time, talk about what we accomplished and our goals for the rest of the week (15 minutes). During the meeting, your facilitator (Hadis) will be available to talk with you about what you are working on, help you set goals and brainstorm ideas, and answer any writing questions you might have.

  • Tuesday Afternoon Undergraduate/Graduate Writing Group for First-Generation Students

    Meeting time: 4 to 5:30 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week), plus drop-ins welcome
    Mode: in person
    Location: Helen C. White Hall, 6th floor
    Facilitator: Seth Umbaugh

    This combined undergraduate and graduate writing group will meet in person on the 6th floor of Helen C. White Hall. The group will serve registered students, and drop-ins will also be welcomed. Group members will fill out individual goal-setting sheets, and each meeting will begin and end with group conversation about both daily and long-term writing goals. In addition to offering goal-setting conversations, this group will support first-generation college students (others welcome, too!) by providing a space for discussion about the particular writing, time-management, and access challenges that we often face. Seth will also be available for brief one-to-one conferences to help participants set goals, brainstorm ideas, and receive writing support.

  • Wednesday Afternoon Undergraduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 4 to 5:30 p.m.
    Format: registered (same attendees each week), plus drop-ins welcome
    Mode: in person
    Location: Multicultural Student Center, 3rd floor/South Mezzanine, Red Gym
    Facilitator: Samitha Senanayake

    Are you looking for a chance to get writing done in a supportive setting with fellow undergrads? 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
    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 to talk with you about what you are working on and to answer any writing questions you might have. 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!

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, though we encourage you to fill out our interest form. Participants are welcome to attend drop-in groups in addition to 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: Ellen Cecil-Lemkin

    Get ready to start your week off “write” in this Monday morning graduate writing group! Each Monday morning, we will take 15 minutes to establish our writing goals for the day on a Google Doc. Then, we’ll meet together on Zoom to share our goals, spend the majority of the time writing, and, at the end of our time together, talk about what we accomplished and our goals for the rest of the week. During the allotted writing time, the facilitator (Ellen) will be available for brief one-to-one conferences with participants to help them set goals, brainstorm ideas, and get an outsider's perspective on their writing.

  • Tuesday 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 Tuesday graduate morning writing group will connect each week at 9:00 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 issues and celebrate your accomplishments.

  • Tuesday Afternoon Undergraduate/Graduate Writing Group for First-Generation Students

    Meeting time: 4 to 5:30 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week), plus drop-ins welcome
    Mode: in person
    Location: Helen C. White Hall, 6th floor
    Facilitator: Seth Umbaugh

    This combined undergraduate and graduate writing group will meet in person on the 6th floor of Helen C. White Hall. The group will serve registered students, and drop-ins will also be welcomed. Group members will fill out individual goal-setting sheets, and each meeting will begin and end with group conversation about both daily and long-term writing goals. In addition to offering goal-setting conversations, this group will support first-generation college students (others welcome, too!) by providing a space for discussion about the particular writing, time-management, and access challenges that we often face. Seth will also be available for brief one-to-one conferences to help participants set goals, brainstorm ideas, and receive writing support.

  • 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

    This graduate writing group is dedicated to fostering a supportive environment for graduate students to work on academic writing projects of any type and at any stage. Sick of Zoom and looking for some weekly accountability? Each week we will meet in person, convening on the 6th floor of Helen C. White Hall. With a focus on the intersection of writing and wellness, we will open each session by setting and sharing writing goals as well as discussing and reflecting on the ongoing role that stress, guilt, boundaries, and self-care play in the writing process. We will then have sustained writing time for the bulk of the session, during which the facilitator, Abby, will be available to chat about your work one-to-one. We will close by sharing our progress and reflecting on the session.

  • Wednesday Evening AOF Scholars Writing Group

    Meeting time: 5 to 8 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: hybrid, with both in-person and virtual participants
    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.

  • Wednesday Evening Graduate Writing Group

    Meeting time: 5 to 8 p.m. CT
    Format: registered (same attendees each week)
    Mode: hybrid, with both in-person and virtual participants
    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 via Zoom 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 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. 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 in groups) what we accomplished and consider a question to help us transition away from working and into the rest of our evening.

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

    Meeting time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT
    Format: drop-in (attend when you’re available)
    Mode: hybrid, with both in-person and virtual participants
    Location: Helen C. White Hall, 6th floor AND online
    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. As a hybrid group, you can decide each week that you attend if you’d like to participate in-person in Helen C. White Hall (6th floor) or virtually via Zoom. Regardless of whether you join us in-person or virtually, 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, our 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 in groups) what we accomplished and consider a question to help us transition away from working and into the rest of our day.

  • 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: online / fully virtual
    Facilitator: Jonathan Isaac

    This drop-in graduate writing group will meet virtually on Friday mornings. Participants will set goals in a shared Google Doc, and brief opening and closing sessions will take place over Zoom and provide opportunities for conversation and connection with other graduate students. Between 9:15 and 11:45, you are invited to write alongside others in the Zoom meeting, or you can write independently and rejoin the group at the end of the session.

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