In this Announcement podcast of Screen Space I invite you to join me for Scholarly Writing Month (or your alternative).


This is a special edition announcement episode of Screen Space your podcast about creating usable, accessible, effective, and efficient web, blog, and new media design for the everyday (and non-expert) designer.

As many of you know, I, your host, Dr. Jennifer L. Bowie, am a professor at Georgia State University. As such I have to publish or perish and scholarly publications are a major focus of my pre-tenure life.

I invite those of you in academia to join me for something I am trying in November: Scholarly Writing Month (or SchoWriMo). For those of you who are not academics, sick around and consider joining this adventure in your own way.

This short podcast is an abridged version of my longer invitation and discussion of this idea I posted on Screen Space. Go to Screen Space Click on the SchoWriMo category link to find the longer post or look around the blog.

November is “National Novel Writing Month” where participants try to write a novel (defined as 175-pages/50,000-words) during the month. As an academic, this concept always intrigued me, but didn’t work for me (see the blog post for why not).

So, I have previously not joined the crazy fun of Nanowrimo. However, this November I propose a scholarly version: Scholarly Writing Month (or SchoWriMo)

What is SchoWriMo, you may ask?

The goal is to spend serious time in November writing. As many writers of scholarly texts, novels, or other forms will state, the most important thing one can do as a writer is write regularly. So, SchoWriMo is based on this general concept: writing regularly. There are thirty days in November, so I propose an hour a day or at least thirty hours of writing for November. Since the idea is to write regularly, one should not just sit down in 3-4 days and pound out 30 hours. Ideally this will be an hour a day, 7 days a week, for November. Thanksgiving and other days may come up when writing is particularly hard, so, how about being able to make up one day/hour of writing on any other day, but no more than one? This means if someone needs to make up for the Thanksgiving hour, they can spend two hours the day before, but can’t spend three that day to also cover the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Types of writing: What counts?

  • Actual writing: obviously
  • Data analysis
  • Formatting the document
  • Putting together and formatting the references pages
  • Anything that contributes to a scholarly publication: As the goal is to get work done on a scholarly publication I will not count blogging, writing for classes I am teaching, or anything else that doesn’t lead to further development of my scholarly contributions to the field (as counted by my tenure guidelines).
  • For students, I would not recommend including writing for class unless it is a paper or project that you plan to publish or present at a conference. Your writing too should be something that works towards a scholarly publication–a line on the CV.
  • Medium/media are not important: If you are writing for a print publication, a hypertext, a video, or a podcast, this still counts as “writing”, as I have loosely defined it here, as long as it moves your scholarship forward. For instance, I am working on an article I plan to publish in a peer reviewed journal and this article happens to be in podcast form. Writing the script for this, recording it, and editing it will all count as “writing” as it will move my scholarship forward.
  • Am I missing anything?

So, this is what I will be doing in November. For those of you who are academics, care to join me? For those of you are not, is there something else you could do instead? Perhaps there is a project you are working on–say a quilt–and you could do QuiSewMo. Or perhaps you play an instrument and should practice an hour a day? Or maybe you have a blog you need to blog more on, and want to try blogging a hour each day–or podcasting, bike riding, running, getting an extra hour of sleep each night… whatever. I encourage you to join me, whether it be SchoWriMo or something else. I especially encourage my graduate students so they can get that writing done they need to be doing. And I likewise encourage my pre-tenure colleagues. But anyone, whether a scholarly writer or marathon runner are welcome to join.

Do you want join the fun?

I’ve put together a Google docs spreadsheet. To join, email me ( or and I will share it with you. Then simply log in and record your hours. At the end of the month, we can see who has successfully completed SchoWriMo or their alternative.

You can even win a prize! I’ll offer a prize to those who complete their hours, or, more likely randomly draw from among those who complete and give them a prize. That is, if I don’t do this alone. The prize will be Inappropriate On Purpose the first album of my favorite steampunk rock band, The Extraordinary Contraptions. Do note, the band is not sponsoring this; I am buying their album for the winner. If any of you out there want to sponsor another prize, I’d be happy to take you up on the sponsorship!

So, join me for the fun and craziness!

And come back next time for Screen Space episode 11: Usability Testing 101. I will release this episode on November 12th, for World Usability Day. You can find out more about World Usability day at

If you have questions, comments, or thoughts please send me an email at or check out the Screen Space blog— Have fun and design well!

Screen Space is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Screen Space’s opening music today is “African Dance” by Apa Ya off of Headroom Project available from Magnatune. As a special treat and example of what you could win by doing SchoWriMo or your unique version, here is one of my favorite songs off the Extraordinary Contraptions album you could win; this song is “Never Halfway Only”. The song and/or album are available on their website, and nimbit.


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