Graduate School Thesis Office announces new writing group

Photo of fingers typing on a computer keyboardThe Thesis and Dissertation Office of the NIU Graduate School is sponsoring an informal monthly gathering specifically for thesis and dissertation writers.

“Write Place, Write Time” is simply scheduled writing time that provides structure and accountability for graduate students who often struggle to “find time to write.”

The group meets from 6 to 9 p.m. the second Thursday of every month in Founders Library, Room 454, near the east windows on the fourth floor. The next session is April 14.

Mike Yetter, a graduate assistant in the Thesis Office who is currently working on his own dissertation in English, explains the idea. “People think a writing group means sharing and critiquing other people’s work, and a lot of people aren’t interested in that. That’s not what graduate students usually need. We need to schedule time to just focus on our own writing. We need to put a date on the calendar that says, ‘Tonight I write, and only write.’ ”

The concept is a response to what Carolyn Law, thesis and dissertation advisor, has been hearing from graduate students for more than 20 years.

“Students often complain that they can’t find time to actually sit down and write,” Law says. “But you aren’t going to ‘find’ it; you have to make it. Our program is designed to help students do that, in a completely nonjudgmental environment, in hopes that they will get into a habit of it on their own.”

Black pen and yellow legal padA unique feature of Write Place/Write Time is its singular focus: no reading, no sharing, no discussion, no research, no distractions – just writing.

Yetter has found that it’s a model that has been successful for him. “There is so much competition for my time that if I don’t get it on my calendar I can prioritize every other important thing I have to do first, but then the dissertation just doesn’t get written. Write Place/Write Time helps me focus on the writing.”

The group is free and open to thesis and dissertation writers from any field, department or discipline. Thesis Office staff will be on hand at every session. For more information, email thesis@niu.edu.

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