Scholarly Writing Program

Get your writing done in the company of friends

The Scholarly Writing Program (SWP) supports faculty as they write for publication and, by extension, for promotion and tenure. We aim to promote and share strong writing practices and build a community of writers on campus.

Schools and programs across the Bloomington campus partner with us to provide financial support and/or space for our groups.

A wide range of services

The Scholarly Writing Program offers several services for IU Bloomington faculty:

Faculty Writing Groups

Our semester-long Faculty Writing Groups offer group accountability and support for faculty and other full-time academic appointees who would like to prioritize their own writing. You need to apply to be part of these groups.

Applications are due by August 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester.  To apply, click here for the application form.

Peer-review groups

We arrange peer-review groups—by request—for interested faculty members. Past groups have included faculty working on tenure and promotion statements, and faculty interested in receiving feedback on scholarly work from peers outside their disciplines.

Tenure and promotion support

Each spring, we provide one-on-one consultations on tenure and promotion personal statements (research, teaching, and service sections). Contact Laura Plummer at lplummer@indiana.edu to make an appointment.

Editorial support

Time permitting, we provide one-on-one feedback to Faculty Writing Group participants on any piece of writing related to their IU appointment, such as scholarly books/chapters, articles, and grant applications.

Special writing-related events

VPFAA and the Scholarly Writing Program cosponsor writing-related events each academic year. These events include workshops by experts in the field of scholarly writing and productivity (with OVPR), The OpEd Project (with CAHI), and seasonal multiday writing retreats.

Annual writing retreat

Each May, we host a two-day retreat to help jump-start summer writing projects.

Faculty Writing Groups

The Faculty Writing Groups (FWGs) are founded on two basic principles:

  1. Daily writing produces better quality work while also minimizing stress.
  2. Group accountability helps reinforce motivation.

These strategies can be especially difficult to implement without some external structure and support. In order to help you integrate these skills into your writing practice, we provide weekly writing-based workshops that focus on the needs of faculty writing throughout the disciplines. These are not review groups (focused on sharing work and improving prose), but accountability groups aimed at supporting process, community, and productivity.

Structure of the groups

Each three-hour writing group meeting is divided in the following way:

Group discussion (approximately 30 minutes): This discussion will be facilitated by a faculty co-facilitator and/or a Scholarly Writing Program staff member and will focus on writing and motivational strategies. Each member of the group is expected to share their progress since the last meeting and set goals for structured writing time.

Some common topics for full-group discussion include:

  • Training yourself to write every day
  • Productive goal-setting strategies
  • Types of revision and feedback (structural, surface-level)
  • Balancing teaching/writing/service
  • Strategies for dealing with rejected projects or reviewers’ comments

Structured writing time (remaining two-plus hours): All members of the group will spend the remaining time in the session working on their individual projects, and will report their progress at the end of the session.

Because of the writing time I had in my FWG, I got more writing done this semester than I would have without participating in a group.

IU Bloomington faculty participant

Expectations for participants and facilitators

Participants will:

  • Commit to regular attendance for the semester. Your presence reinforces others’ accountability—we all show up because others expect us to. Writing groups are competitive. Participants who are continually absent will not be selected to continue in future semesters.
  • Arrive on time on each week. Late arrivals are disruptive and undermine others’ motivation.
  • Keep a record of goals and progress.
  • Provide feedback about the progress.

Group facilitators will:

  • Lead a brief discussion at the beginning of each session on goals, strategies, and long-term writing plans.
  • Help participants remain on-task (and away from email, media, and other distractions).
  • Be available to offer advice on the writing process or a particular writing question.