As I recently mentioned on Mastodon, I’m going to try doing Academic Writing Month (aka “AcWriMo”; a fellow traveler of National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo”) this year. Here I’m detailing my approach—I’ll likely also update this with my progress throughout the experiment.

La Lucha Continúa

My most consistent writing challenge has always been that writing anything longer than a blog post involves a noticeable state shift. I move—sometimes with effort, sometimes all-too-effortlessly—from mild-mannered riotnrrrd mode to superhuman hyperfocus mode, and occasionally veer into full-on ADHD lasereyes goblin mode.

This routinely produces good class & conference papers, but isn’t exactly compatible with what one might call responsible adulting.

So the crux of my dilemma: how to flip my brain into writing mode in sustainable ways that are in fact compatible with responsible adulting?

AcWriMo2023 Piece

Here are this year’s AcWriMo experiment parameters, written up somewhat as a Fluxus piece:

  1. Aspire to get into the “writing headspace” for 30 minutes to an hour every other day, i.e. Mon or Tue, Wed or Thu, Fri or Sat., through November 2023.
  2. Track the attempts. Probably share the progress & results.
  3. “Writing headspace” here ≅ “successfully opened up my writing app and/or successfully annotated readings in one of my two reading apps.”

As you can see, this is taking a process-based approach, not a product-based one. The aim is to see how much I can make a habit of writing in rally mode (i.e. sustained movement) rather than sprinting mode.

To provide more structure and internal support, I’ve made myself a set of tasks, using Obsidian’s Tasks plugin. Whatever stands a good chance of supporting beneficial progress, right?

Obsidian & Tasks Details

While I haven’t yet written a post or note about the Tasks plugin specifically, it’s essentially what has drawn me from Dendron to Obsidian. [Update on 2023-11-29: I now have written about how I currently use the Tasks plugin. I don’t repeat much of what’s below in that other note, so reading both might be worth your while if you’re interested in that aspect of Obsidian.]

So here I’ll detail how I’m using Tasks to help out with AcWriMo2023, in case you’re the sort of person who appreciates worked examples. If you’re also an Obsidian user, maybe it’ll be a useful example of how you might approach projects & to-dos, using the Tasks plugin?

Here’s a link to the project tracking file I’ve made for this month’s challenge. Please adapt it to your own use as you’d like! (Here’s a link direct to the file’s raw view, if you just want to copy & paste it from your browser without seeing all the GitHub interface.)

A few important use/configuration notes:

Good luck finding what might work for you!