Thursday, August 12, 2010


Last week, Katie gave us some tips on how to write a lot. Her best bit of advice was to allocate an hour, lock yourself away, and write. Although sometimes—especially with the constant interruptions and the regular chime of email notifications—an hour just isn’t enough.

Each year, academic staff receive strategic funds to spend on improving their research or teaching. Rather than being selfish and getting an iPad, my supervisor treated Wen and I to a writing retreat week on Stradbroke Island. Although there was lots food and even more red wine,

it was largely a serious affair. We rented a beautiful house near the beach and severed our internet connections...

We put on our pajamas, brewed some coffee,

and wrote...

And wrote...

And wrote. Until Wen’s pet parrot could no longer bear the boredom and proceeded to chew everything in sight.

The lab writing retreat was a great experience and we each achieved a lot. So if you have writing to do (and who doesn't), I suggest putting yourself in a situation conducive to writingwhether it's escaping to an island for a week, or just unplugging the net for a couple of hours ;-)

Matt Thompson


  1. "brewed some coffee" looks a lot more like "poured a couple glasses of white"


  2. Personally I'm not so sure if I would find this a productive way to write, unless I had set clear goals to achieve from the beginning. Did you guys start with tasks that needed to be completed, or did you just go to "write stuff"?

  3. Love it. Well done Jason.

  4. Will - we do this in social psych as well, and I have knocked articles out of the way during the retreats. They really are amazingly effective - collectively writing (and being forced to collectively write) really works!

  5. Great one Jason. Speaking of "unplugging from the net", I find this to be a great tool:

    It's now for Windows users too. Unfortunately it's no longer freeware.