A writing group for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences

For academics, generating meanings and arguments is an essential part of their work, but being able to write them down as articles, books and dissertations is even more important. However, it is terribly common to experience problems during the writing process, especially for young scholars like PhD students. Some of the struggles they may encounter are: dissatisfaction with the sources and data they obtained; hesitation in choosing a framework or methodology; feeling overwhelmed by the extensive literature; or preoccupation with other scholarly duties like teaching, classes, and conferences. These challenges can cause distress further hindering the writing flow and output, and sadly even affect their self-confidence as academics resulting in disenchantment or burnout.

Write2Thrive is a writing and feedback group that aims to tackle some of the troubles, including the isolation, graduate students from the humanities and social sciences may be experiencing through. The group consists of max. 8 participants, who encourage each other to practice constant and continuous writing, even at early stages of their research. We meet every two weeks for the exchange of ideas, insights, and findings in pre-circulated texts produced by one of the participants. The author of the texts previously requests feedback on the scholarly content and/or the writing style. Every session we rotate the role of chairperson in charge of facilitating the discussion.

Write2Thrive strives to create a space that is not only intellectually enriching but emotionally supportive as well. All participants are invited to agree to a structured and respectful discussion process, which is re-introduced every time a new person joins the group. Creating a safe space with fellow peers allows for a free discussion about the participants written works and writing strategies. In so doing, some of the pressure PhD-students experiences, placed upon them by doctoral advisors given the implicit hierarchical power can be eradicated. Furthermore, the participants have the opportunity to talk about everyday graduate-life. This way, the squad can also provide support and comradery through their way to achieve their individual milestones.

Finally, depending on the interests of the participants’ and their needs additional brief thematic inputs and exercises on various graduate-studies and graduate-life related topics will be presented.

Contact: dana.mahr@unige.ch