Participating in Academic Writing Month? Six Cool Tools for Planning and Drafting Your Writing

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Fountain PenDid you know that November is National Academic Writing Month? Based on the same concept that has led novelists all over the world to write 1667 words a day for the month of November, Academic Writing month focuses on helping writers meet daily word count or time-based goals. Don’t want to write 1000+ words a day? No problem. Academic Writing month allows you to set your own goals. It’s a way to be mindful about what you want to accomplish during the month of November–a month when many of us will be happy just to make it to Thanksgiving.

Many of you know that I prefer time goals to word # goals. But we all need to change it up every once in a while, and you need to experiment to find what works for you. So give word # goals a try and see if it helps you!

Intrigued by the concept but not sure where to start? Or do you already have goals for your writing, but you’re still facing the terror of the blank page? You might want to check out these free (or nearly free) websites below, which are designed to get your minds and fingers moving:

1) Freemind
When planning out your academic writing, it’s important to let your mind roam, but then to capture some of that roaming on paper. A good tool for managing that process is a brainstorming tool called a mindmap. Rather than arranging an outline in a linear order, mindmapping allows the writer to discover the relationships between ideas and to express them in a more fluid, visual way. Freemind is an open-sourced mind mapping program that you can download to any computer, and while it is one of the older mindmapping tools available, its consistent presence on Internet “best mindmapping” lists makes it a definite tool to consider.

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