Bootcamps are one-, two- or three day writing intensives that, unlike overnight retreats, don’t include food or accommodation. You come in the morning with your laptop, you go home in the afternoon with new words.


UBC GSS One-Day Bootcamp

Date: Saturday Sept 21
Times: 9am to 5pm — please arrive early as we start promptly at 9am
Location: Thea’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House (Graduate Student Centre), 6371 Crescent Road V6T 1Z2 
Cost: $15 
Tickets: Eventbrite.

Please join us for this one-day writing bootcamp. Bring your own laptop, lunch, water, earplugs (recommended—sometimes keyboard sounds get annoying), and extension cable to plug in your computer. 

Our schedule for the day:

9:00 to 9:05 – writing sprint
9:05 to 9:30 – facilitated conversation about writing problems & best practices
9:30 to 11:00 – writing block 1
11:00 to 11:15 – break
11:15 to 12:15 – writing block 2
12:15 to 1:00 – lunch
1:00 to 3:00 – writing block 3
3:00 to 3:15 – break
3:15 to 4:15 – writing block 4
4:15 to 4:45 – unstructured time for one-on-one conversations, feedback, or more writing


Frequently Asked Questions:

Why write with others? How does it help?
“Most writers need some sort of accountability, some way to externalize the ongoing pressure to write. When a goal is very long term (i.e., ‘I have to finish my dissertation by next spring.’), it doesn’t necessarily provide the immediate motivation that we need. Instead, many dissertation writers need to create accountability by finding some peer group that will support writing. Most writers also need some sort of community to combat the inherent loneliness of academic writing. Accountability and community can be found in the same place, but that won’t necessarily be the case. The important thing is that doctoral writers find company—virtual or actual—to help them remain productive and to allow them to experience the pleasures of a scholarly community.” Source: Rachael Cayley, Explorations of Style

How should I prepare for the bootcamp?
The people who write the most are usually those who prepare to write. If you can, plan in advance the sections of your document you would like to flesh out. Anticipate what paragraphs you will need to include in each section, and what each paragraph will cover. Know what references you will need to use and where, so that you don’t spend time looking them up.

What should I bring with me?

  • Your laptop and the cable to plug it in
  • Your lunch
  • Ear-plugs (if desired)
  • A quiet-eating snack like a banana
  • Notes
  • Reference material (printed or saved as a PDF — no internet searches permitted)
  • An outline or plan for your writing for the day
  • A 5-10 page double-spaced, printed sample of your writing (if you want feedback)

What do previous bootcamp participants say?
“Since the bootcamp I have been making an effort to write more consistently – ideally everyday but more likely several times a week for short periods. This has been a really beneficial change for me and my writing practice. In general, the way I think about dissertation/academic writing has shifted in a positive direction since the bootcamp.”

“I feel more confident that I can make [writing] happen. [The bootcamp] also taught me that the full dissertation writing process will involve starting with writing a detailed outline of exactly what I plan to write. I feel less worried about my capacity to write the whole dissertation bit by bit.”

“Keep track of the wordcount change during the bootcamp (without letting it make you write frantically) and you can get a realistic idea of the pace that you can sustain when writing 4.5 hours per day, which can give you a rough estimate of how long it would take to write a first draft at that pace. For me, at a slow average of 10 words per minute, it would take me about a month to write an entire first draft of my dissertation from a detailed outline. Not too daunting!”

“Spend the time to prepare a good outline before the bootcamp begins to maximize your writing time in the bootcamp.”

“The bootcamp made all the difference for me – gave me the support I needed to complete my scoping review, and write large sections of two other manuscripts. I would still be working on the scoping review (now several weeks later) had I not attended!”

“Thanks again for the opportunity — it was an incredibly valuable experience, I learned a lot, and my writing process is improved having attended.”