Having said that, I know there are those out there who find overwriting a useful way to create their work.
What they often have behind them, though, is the experience of editing their own overwritten pieces – they know what is good or not-so-good text, what’s relevant and what will need to go.
I suspect that is why I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with the thesis bootcamp, grant camp and similar ‘write at all costs’ models.
Partly because of the aggressive, macho language (often not taken ironically), but mostly because of the fixation on word counts, as if word counts in and of themselves mean anything at all.
RED Alert), you’ll know that I’m a huge #shutupandwrite fan.
I’m not dissing the focus on regular writing and producing text per se.I understand that thesis bootcamps and grant camps were created for a very particular purposes – to bring together researchers who are at an advanced stage with their projects and get them focused on the dissertation/ application trail so they can complete them in good time, with expert assistance about structure, voice, and formal guidelines. I know that they were not originally intended as an all-purpose extreme writing model (and especially not for those who are early in their dissertations or other project research), but that is how I have seen them being run at times – as a word count fiesta. I need to know whether your words are good words, or at least have the potential to be helpful words for the larger project at hand.If you write 5,000 words and trash 4,500 of them, I don’t think that’s a great outcome.If I write 3000 words and finish my book chapter, I could announce, “I’ve finished my book chapter!” and the consequent celebrations would be both grand and fitting.Why wear your word count like some tinny badge of achievement when you have so much more that’s been going on?This article on “The cult of productivity is preventing you from being productive” really spoke to me as I was writing this post (thank you for the link, @postdoctraining! This part, in particular: If I write 3,000 words, that should mean nothing to you.research students registered for the degree of Psy D or DClin Psy where the length of the thesis – including footnotes and any appendices (except mandatory appendices), but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits: In the College of Science and Engineering, the length of the thesis – including footnotes, but excluding the table of contents, tabulated data, diagrams, any appendices, and the bibliography – must not exceed the following limits: Except for research students in the Department of Geography registered for the degree of Ph D or MPhil and whose thesis is based on social science research, where the length of the thesis must not exceed the limits specified for the College of Social Science. It registers when you’re not writing – 5 seconds of no typing – and starts deleting what you’ve already written. I thought it was a bit of a joke, that no-one would really use it for academic work or their thesis.Spending more time thinking and producing 2,500 words, of which you keep about 1,800, is a much healthier research practice.If you are 10,000 words over what your background section should be, that doesn’t mean writing a lot has been a good thing for you.