Experimenting with writing
A workshop about writing led by Dr. Emily Troscianko


South Hall 2617

Writing is a tricky business. In the academic context, it’s about getting qualifications, it’s about demonstrating expertise and career progression, it’s maybe about expressing things we care about, and it’s how we spend a good chunk of our working week (or how we probably ought to, or want to). Writing gets bound up with all kinds of practical, emotional, and existential questions, and sometimes the weight of all these expectations feels too much.

This half-day event is a chance for you to lighten the burden. We’ll begin by paying attention. We’ll find out what your attitudes to and experiences of writing right now actually are, and then do some simple classification: Are these real problems, pseudo-problems, or positives? Then we’ll each design our own “behavioural experiment” to attempt to solve the problem or pseudo-problem we’d most like to be rid of. In the rest of the afternoon, we’ll use two timed writing sessions with planning and review—plus a break with food, drink, and stretching—to start conducting the experiment we’ve designed, and observing and learning from the effects. We’ll wrap up with some brainstorming of ideas for protecting and enhancing your positives. You’ll come away with confidence in your capacity to adopt a spirit of curious experimentation with the macro and micro structures of your writing habits—a meta-attitude that reliably helps tomorrow feel and work incrementally better than yesterday.

Emily Troscianko is a coach, writer, and researcher at the University of Oxford with particular interests in eating disorders, consciousness, and the psychological effects of reading narrative. She is the creator of a writing program for the University of Oxford and has extensive experience in enhancing academic wellbeing and performance. She is currently a Research Associate at TORCH, Oxford University’s interdisciplinary humanities research center, and runs courses on academic writing, habit change, failure, and other aspects of what it means to work and live well.
The event is open to all; places are limited to 20. Please bring a writing project-in-progress that you can work on during our two timed sessions, and be prepared to be without your phone, social media, and email for the full 3.5 hours, including the break. Email Aili at apetterssonpeeker@ucsb.edu by April 26 to sign up.

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