Faculty Writing Program

Do you benefit from writing alongside others who are also working on writing goals? Do you feel like putting writing blocks on your schedule will help you stay on task? Are you uncertain, in these uncertain times, how you could possibly make your writing projects a priority in the midst of so many other responsibilities? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, our Faculty Writing Program might benefit you! 

Here are a few testimonials from past participants:

Simply the fact of meeting is good for my writing, there is nothing more encouraging than the company of people that support each other’s success. It is also very helpful to hear different perspectives about writing, reflect, and discuss strategies.

One thing that I've loved about this semester is learning from the members of my group, who are from very different experiential and professional backgrounds. Their frameworks of analysis and insight into their work has been revelatory. 

I definitely worked harder on my writing projects at each writing group session than I otherwise would have. It definitely got my project further along more quickly.

The program helped me realize that I can find at least 30 minutes in my schedule every day to work on my writing projects. I found this approach to be really helpful in overcoming the feeling that I didn't have enough time to write and made the entire process much less stressful... During the summer program, I was able to write two complete manuscripts, start to finish!

The Faculty Writing Program offers WRITING GROUPS and FLEX SESSIONS, each with their own benefits in terms of structure and flexibility. 

Note: the Faculty Writing Program operates primarily over Zoom.

How Writing Groups Work

  • When you sign up for a Writing Group, you will be put in touch with four to six colleagues who have the same availability in their schedule according to your registration survey, and together you will narrow that available window to a 1- to 2-hour block of time that your group will meet each week.
  • Depending on demand and availability, you may be put into an existing Writing Group or you may be put in a group with entirely new FWP participants. Some of our Writing Groups have been running for years!
  • Writing Groups are self-facilitated. This means that there is not a representative from the Writing Institute to guide you. We recommend that new participants attend the Launch Event to learn about the program’s mission and approach.

Note: The success of a Writing Group depends on the reliability of its members. When you sign up for a Writing Group, you are committing to show up for yourself and your colleagues as a matter of your weekly routine. Please treat your Writing Group like any other important meeting on your schedule. If you need to miss your Writing Group session, please let your group members know when you cannot attend.

How Flex Sessions Work

  • Flex Sessions (formerly called “Writing Days”) are come-when-you-can. Show up late and leave early if you need to. Flex sessions are thus less of a commitment than the Writing Groups. Everyone who signs up for the Faculty Writing Program is welcome to join in Flexible (Flex) Sessions when they can. Typical attendance is somewhere between six and twelve participants.
  • Flex Sessions are facilitated by Moriah Kirdy, the Writing Institute’s Associate Director, an expert in Writing Studies. This means that goal-setting and debrief conversations often involve guidance on reasonable goal setting, writing process and/or routines on an ongoing basis.
  • You can think of these writing sessions as a “bonus” addition to your Writing Group, or if the Flex Sessions are already scheduled during your ideal writing time, you can treat them like your writing group and commit to coming every week (a strong handful of people do just that).
  • These flexible sessions follow the same agenda as Writing Groups. Goals are set out loud, participants spend some time writing in silence, and then participants debrief about how the writing session went.

Both Writing Groups and Flex Sessions follow the same agenda:

  1. Open the session by establishing goals for the writing time verbally to one another
  2. Writing time in silence (cameras off, but still present in the Zoom session)
  3. Debrief about how writing time went, and set goals for writing time outside of the group for the coming week

Here is a synopsis of the differences and similarities between Writing Groups and Flex Sessions: 

Facilitated by an expert in Writing Studies NO, groups are self-facilitated YES, sessions are facilitated by Moriah Kirdy, Associate Director of the Writing Institute
Weekly Commitment YES, participants attend weekly (members should aim to not miss sessions whenever possible) NO, sessions are come-when-you-can, leave-when-you-need-to
Size 4-6 colleagues Variable (typically 6-12 attendees)
Group Composition The same colleagues each week Variable, but many of the same colleagues return each week
Time to Articulate Writing Goals YES YES, if present at start of session
Time to Debrief on Progress and Process YES YES, if present at end of session
Session Length1-2 1-2 hours (depends on group preference) 2 hours
Option to Exchange Writing NO, focus is on accountability NO, focus is on accountability


The History of the Faculty Writing Program

The Faculty Writing Program launched in the Summer of 2020, shortly after the formal launch of the Writing Institute and at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. What was imagined as an in-person all-day writing session each week of the summer evolved to a year-round offering of both "Writing Days" (now known as "Flex Sessions") and Writing Groups over Zoom. The Faculty Writing Program extends to faculty programming previously focused on graduate students, including Graduate Student Writing Accountability Groups and graduate student Writing Days. Writing Days and Dissertation Camps have been offered to graduate students by Ellen Smith and Jean Grace (our Director) for over a decade. 

Questions? Comments? Contact Moriah Kirdy (moriah.kirdy@pitt.edu)