Optional writing retreat – University of Copenhagen

Optional writing retreat

September 29-30, 2018

The writing retreat will be facilitated by Mirjam Godskesen1 and Sofie Kobayashi2.

Writing – especially among experienced writers – is a very personal thing and habits on how to write and under which circumstances can be deeply rooted. For early career researchers, finding out what works for you can be very enabling in becoming an efficient writer. A more structured approach with sharing of writing goals and writing in fixed time slots can be helpful for some and annoying for others. You have a free choice to try out different approaches, perhaps challenge yourself on your preferred approach and gain new experiences with the writing process. We offer three different approaches with varying degree of structure and collaboration: 1) Silent writing space; 2) Time structured writing with writing goals; 3) Collaborative writing with peer feedback. The collaboration approach is about giving more room for dialogue and exchange which hopefully will invite participants who are working together.

The timeslots are:

Saturday, September 29 Sunday, September 30
Morning 9-12
Afternoon 14-17 13-16

You get the opportunity to experience a new approach in each time slot, or you can chose to continue with the same approach. We offer three different approaches with varying degree of structure and collaboration:

1) Silent writing space

This is the least structured approach where we meet up in a room and do un-facilitated writing according to our own rhythm. We get energy from the co-presence in the room, the quiet atmosphere and listening to each other tapping the keyboard.

2) Time structured writing with writing goals

This approach is strongly facilitated and we write in time slots of 0.5-1.5 hours and breaks are mandatory. Before each writing slot participants decide on writing goals that are shared and discussed in groups. This process helps to focus your writing and is also very efficient in overcoming challenges in the text. We get energy from the clear goals and the accountability towards others in reaching the goals.

3) Collaborative writing with peer feedback

In this approach there is more room for collaboration. Considerable time will be spent in pairs discussing the narrative of the text and giving concrete feedback on shorter pieces of text. But we will still spend more than half of the time on individual writing in silence. This approach is relevant if 1) you want to explore and develop a common idea in collaboration or you are already writing together; 2) you are writing on your own text and would benefit from dialogue and feedback to take the next step. We get energy from dialogue and working together in the process of giving and receiving constructive feedback.

The writing retreat is organized in three sessions over the two days of 3-4 hours each. You can swap between the approaches in between the sessions.

Evaluation of the different approaches

After each session you are invited to respond to a brief questionnaire for all of us to gain insight into how each approach is perceived by participants. This evaluation also aims to contribute to your own reflection on your writing practice.


1. Mirjam Godskesen is Part-time lecturer at the University of Aalborg, Denmark, and private consultant. Mirjam organizes writing retreats for researchers and PhD students.

2. Sofie Kobayashi is assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, where she teaches and researches PhD education and PhD supervision for supervisors and PhD students.