Looking for insights into the writing process: lessons gleaned from writing retreats

Rowena Murray

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


If we only see academic writing in its full draft or final form, we can improve the text, but can we have an impact on clients’, students’ or colleagues’ writing? For example, as a PhD supervisor I should be delighted when my students submit draft chapters and journal articles – and I generally am – but if we have not discussed their writing-in-progress, I will have had less insight into their writing as it developed. For translators and editors, seeing writing in its later or final stages restricts insight into the production of writing. One way of looking into text production is a Structured Writing Retreat. Retreats provide insights into the multitude of decisions writers make, the writing problems they face, and what they are really trying to say. Retreats offer insight into how writers transform research into writing, and how they manage collaborative and individual writing. There are opportunities to observe writing behaviours and see patterns and differences among writers. We invoke the role of talking in writing (Elbow 2011). Crucially for researchers, we open up conversations about what constitutes "quality" in academic writing. In this talk I will report on what I have learned about the writing process through organizing Structured Writing Retreats.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017
EventMediterranean Editors and Translators Meeting 2017 - Centro Pastorale Paolo VI, Breschia, Italy
Duration: 26 Oct 201728 Oct 2017


ConferenceMediterranean Editors and Translators Meeting 2017
Abbreviated titleMETM 2017
Internet address


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