Shut Up & Write

Shut Up & Write sessions are part of a worldwide movement. They’re regular, structured social writing sessions, designed to overcome research student isolation while helping you beat procrastination. Graduate students can use these sessions to write well and write together, providing moral support and motivations.

Join GSA for regular Shut Up & Write-a-Thons

Extended Shut Up & Write sessions called Shut Up & Write-a-Thons are now being offered to support graduate students make significant progress in thesis and assignment writing.

We are running semi-regular monthly sessions with morning tea or dinner and snacks, for half-days or after working hours. These sessions are great support for study and will help you beat procrastination and meet other graduate students.

We use the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes writing with 5-minute breaks) and teach the generative method to make sessions as productive as possible. We will provide you with information and resources to power your studies. You can work on anything you like, but you must be writing.

Book an upcoming session

Get involved in Shut Up & Write

Any graduate student can run a Shut Up & Write session with other students and academics in their department, course or faculty at the University of Melbourne.

You can even work with one of our affiliated Grad Groups to apply for writing group funding. Contact us if you want some advice:

Sessions are free for students and academics at the University of Melbourne.

Shut Up & Write sessions use the Pomodoro Technique.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

A full pomodoro cycle lasts for about 2 hours, comprising four sets of sprints and breaks. Using the Pomodoro Technique you will almost always find you make much more progress, even though it’s the same amount of time.

An Italian – Francesco Cirillo – came up with the idea in the late 80s and needed to keep track of his 25-minute sprints. The nearest thing to hand was a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (pomodoro in Italian). Now the word is synonymous with 25-minute productivity bursts.

Prepare for Shut Up & Write

  • Shut Up and Write sessions are not about creating the perfect final version of your work; they’re intended to get the words out onto the page, which you can edit and polish later.
  • Trust that you know enough about your topic, and try not to get caught up in finding the ideal phrase or sentence.
  • Katherine Firth, the Head of Academic Programs at Trinity College, has more tips on generative writing and first drafts.

Five steps to writing

  1. Decide what you want to work on during the session
  2. Make some notes (or dot points) to help guide you. Having a plan, however rough, can keep you on track.
  3. Get organised: Organise your notes! The Cornell Method is a great way to do this, but any system is fine as long as it works for you.
  4. Have your references and data analysis results ready, but don’t worry if you don’t have every detail: you can go back and finalise things in a later draft.
  5. Write!