A New TUSA Postgraduate Initiative: Shut Up & Write! Group Productivity Sessions

In the first semester of 2021 TUSA will be offering new weekly group writing sessions for postgraduate students: Shut Up & Write! The idea behind Shut Up and Write! is as simple as its title: bring a piece of writing or general work to the session and work on it in short, silent bursts. Following the Pomodoro timing technique, these 2-hour sessions will consist of twenty-five minutes of writing time followed by a five-minute break.  

The 5-minute breaks ensure you stay focused for the entire 2-hour session as well as help make a solitary activity a bit more social! Additionally, they give you an opportunity to chat with other postgraduate students, grab a coffee, scroll Instagram or enjoy a free snack. 

There’s no pressure to share your work. Whether using the time to write, edit, read, or mark assessments, we only ask that it’s study or work related, and you’re able to do it silently and with minimal disturbance to others. For example, this isn’t the space for silent gaming! But if you have headphones and need to power through a thirty-minute lecture recording you’re welcome to join a session. 

Shut Up & Write! groups operate in universities and public spaces all over the world. After being a part of an informal Shut Up & Write! Group via Zoom during 2020’s lockdown, I found the sessions to be incredibly beneficial. My group stayed on task for the duration of the two-hour sessions, but the most rewarding aspect was the friendships that were formed. We all bought Paint-By-Numbers kits (so wholesome) and shared our painting progress with the rest of the group at the end of each session. The experience was comforting, demanded minimal social energy, and provided valuable structure to an otherwise vague and stressful time. 

When the Victorian COVID-19 restrictions lifted at the end of 2020 the group disbanded, I found myself missing the consistency of scheduled group writing time. I contacted Rohan Puri, the SRC Postgraduate Education President, to see if TUSA would support my starting up UTAS-based Shut Up & Write! sessions. Rohan was enthusiastic about the idea, and now we’re excited to offer the same experience at UTAS. Shut Up & Write! is starting in Semester 1, 2021, so sessions will be offered on-campus at Sandy Bay, and for all other campuses and distance students, you can join us via Zoom. As more people participate and interest grows, we hope new convenors step up to run their own Shut Up & Write! groups at their own campuses. 

When: Every Tuesday morning in Semester 1, 10am – 12pm 

Where: Sir Stanley Burbury Boardroom, back of the Union Building. Enter via TUSA Reception on Level 4 

Sign up for our mailing list: https://tusa.org.au/shut-up-and-write/ 

Ari Moore is a PhD Candidate in Philosophy