Commentary / Events

Kick Start Your Writing at a Thesis Boot Camp

This post was written by an attendee at the 2016 Thesis Boot Camp…

The Thesis Boot Camp I attended at the University of Manchester in 2016 played a major part in getting me ready to complete my thesis. I wrote 17,000 words in two and a half days, which far exceeded what I hoped to achieve, and gave me a huge confidence boost!

While I still had to edit the material, and some of it was very rough, I produced something that would have taken weeks on the outside.

The most important advice I would give to anyone planning to do a Thesis Boot Camp is to prepare thoroughly. Preparation exercises are sent out ahead of the Camp – it’s easy to ignore these, or tackle them half-heartedly. The key to success is to be clear about what you will work on, and to make a detailed plan. All necessary reading should be done, notes taken and annotated, research data generated. After this, your head is stuffed with raw material and the aim of Boot Camp is to get it from your head onto the page.

The best writing style for Boot Camp is known as ‘generative’ writing – to me, this felt like writing in a stream of consciousness way, pouring out all of the raw material in my head, trying to find the best ways to express my thoughts and ideas. It felt a bit scary at times. Having a series of sub-headings already prepared helped to keep me on-track. One particularly useful piece of advice was to write in complete sentences. Not only did this push up the word count, but it meant that the end product was of a decent grammatical standard.

I loved the ambience of the Boot Camp – the shared goal and the collective spirit really helped to motivate me. The overall management of the event was smooth, supportive and enthusiastic. The food was fantastic!

I can honestly say that I would not be in such a strong position to submit if I had not attended this event.

Registrations for the 2017 Boot Camp will open next year. Look out for details on STEPS or with your Faculty Skills Training providers.

One thought on “Kick Start Your Writing at a Thesis Boot Camp

  1. I am hearing about these for the first time, thanks for sharing. I had almost the same experience (but not really the same) with a NaNoWriMo, I don’t know if you heard about it. Challenges like this make you very productive. I am writing my first thesis this year and I am very nervous about it. I think I will write a lot of not related stuff because I get easy distracted. My friend had written his thesis with a help of online services, you know, like this one: I am feeling little ashamed for him. He was like, you definitly should try it too. I was thinking about it. But then I found this post and I thought that I will try one of this camps and maybe I will do just okay and even beyond okay!

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