The University of Mississippi School of Law recently held a Writing Retreat for faculty members at the end of the fall semester. The five-day retreat was designed to help participants dedicate time to intensive writing, to set and achieve goals, and to build camaraderie amongst colleagues.
“The purpose of the writing retreat is to create an atmosphere where those who so desire can dedicate focused time to a project or plan in the midst of this busy season,” said Michele Alexandre, professor of law and the retreat organizer. “This, we hope, will provide an opportunity to reserve big chunks of time to achieve specific writing goals before leaving for the holidays.”
Each participant selected individual goals and the amount of time they wanted to dedicate. Participants began each day by checking in with each other via email to share goals for the day. Fifteen-minute coffee, tea, and cookie breaks were scheduled every two hours as well as a lunch break. At the end of each day, participants engaged in a short discussion to share their issues and brainstorm solutions together.
“Writing can be a very solitary activity,” said Professor Stacey Lantagne, one of the participants. “It was wonderful to work in an environment that helped to eliminate that solitude. Not to mention adding accountability – knowing that everybody else was out there writing meant that I had to keep at it, too!”
Participants of the retreat were: Professor Michele Alexandre, Associate Dean Ben Cooper, Professor Donna Davis, Professor Antonia Eliason, Professor Chris Green, Professor Andrea Harrington, Professor Stacey Lantagne, Senior Associate Dean Jack Nowlin, Professor Matthew Hall, and Professor Will Berry.
“Being able to set aside a block of uninterrupted time to focus on writing, for several days in a row, was absolutely fantastic,” said Eliason. “As the parent of a toddler, dedicated writing time can be incredibly difficult to come by, and knowing that I was going to be working through the weekend in the company of my amazing colleagues provided the necessary motivation to stay on track. The productivity I experienced during these few days was great, and I can’t wait to participate in the next retreat before the spring semester starts up.”
The retreat was a success and faculty members have requested to have additional workshops again in January and April.