Writing courses and retreats

[both in-situ and virtual!]

The content and length of all my courses can be adapted to your requirements! And all courses and retreats can be hosted online. Meeting face-to-face is obviously a huge advantage, but the online option offers much more flexibility and reduces costs considerably. I am also very happy to collaborate with you to develop a combination of in-situ seminars and online follow-ups for longer term goals. The courses described below give you an idea of what I can offer. The courses can focus on shorter practice articles or full-scale research articles (or a mix), depending on where participants are in the PhD process. 

 

5-day course: The whole writing process!

In this course, we cover the basics of clear and concise writing, and apply these skills directly to our own texts. The goal for each participant is to produce a short general-audience article about their own research ready to publish online. With 5 days, we have time to work through the whole writing process, from topics and questions, to cutting clutter in the final draft. The participants only need to bring a clear idea about what they want to write about. This reduces the need for extensive preparation. Participants give each other constructive feedback throughout the whole process, based on my lectures and advice. Everyone thereby gains valuable experience in writing, critical thinking, and peer-reviewing!

 

3-day course: It’s all about the edit

The 3-day course covers the same basic writing advice as the 5-day course, and the students work together to improve their short articles. In a 3-day course, the students must have written a complete first draft prior to the course. Even though the course is shorter, the participants are still part of an extensive peer-learning process, where they read each other’s articles and give feedback for improvement. As with the 5-day course, the objective is to have a short (blog) article ready for publishing by the end of the course, or soon after.

 

1-day course: The foundation is set

In 1 day, we get time to cover all the basics, and to work through examples (of varying complexity) together in the group. We also have time to discuss different elements of writing. Since there is not so much time for actual collaboration and peer-learning, I spend some more time on the power of writing groups and how they work. The aim of these shorter courses is to provide a solid foundation for the students build upon together!

 

2-hour seminar: Scratching the surface

In seminars shorter than 1-day, we just scratch the surface of basic writing skills. Despite the shorter timeframe, I aim to convey the key messages in a clear and entertaining way. We briefly cover the basics of writing and work through a couple of editing examples together. These shorter seminars work nicely at larger events like conferences and general meetings, where other issues are usually the main focus. The participants interact considerably during the seminars, which can also contribute to ice-breaking activities at larger events too.

 

Writing retreats

I collaborate with Fjordslottet hotel on Osterøy, where we can hold courses and writing retreats. This collaboration means that we can take responsibility for all the logistics of the retreat, including travel to/from Bergen, hotel bookings and activity planning. The writing retreats are ideal for those who have taken one of my courses previously, but are also open to participants with no writing training. Fjordslottet is the perfect place to get away from the “normal” working life and have time to develop a piece of writing, such as an article or a PhD introduction. Throughout the retreat, I hold short lectures on writing and help the participants plan, draft and edit their writing projects. The participants are also split into groups for peer-to-peer feedback and discussions. During the week, we also have some group activities to get out and find inspiration in the beautiful local countryside and rich local history. [Writing retreats can obviously also be held in any hotel around the world.]

These writing retreats can also be provided online, which has proven very successful during the COVID-19 outbreak. The online retreats usually span 2-3 weeks and we meet every day for 1-4 hours. We start with lectures about basic writing skills, and put emphasis on building a community which can continue after the official retreat is over. During the retreat we have morning "brain warm-up" exercises, shut-up-and-write sessions, and individual group feedback discussions. 

 

Peer-review

In this course we will go through the peer-review process published in Nature.com, and then apply it collectively to review an abstract in a journal with an open discussion forum. This course can be provided in varying lengths. For courses longer than 1-day, we use the peer-review process to review full length articles in an open and friendly peer-learning environment.

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