Autumn 2021 PhD WriteClub

Productive PhD writing in balance with the rest of life – Online Coaching Programme

  • Set writing goals that are meaningful, balanced, possible and satisfying
  • Build confidence, motivation and awareness of what gets in the way and how to overcome it
  • Establish strategies for productive writing practices in balance with the rest of life
  • Ongoing peer-support and learning from the collective wisdom of the group
  • Ongoing accountability and insight with regular group coaching and 1-1 support
  • Create a sustainable writing practice beyond the programme

PhD WriteClub is for post-graduate researchers at any stage of their research who want to create a successful period of writing and establish a more effective, balanced writing experience. 

Starts with a one-day online live coaching virtual writing retreat – Monday 20th September – followed by a  programme of group coaching, peer and 1-1 support for 3 months. Full details of the timetable are below.

Costs:  £650, with 30% discount for those paying privately (£455). Concessions also available.

Further details and timetable click here for PDF

For queries or to book a place please email Cal at with the topic PhD WriteClub and: Year of study, Discipline, What you will be working on (e.g. chapter, article, book, proposal etc.), briefly in a sentence, what you want to gain from the programme?

Further details

Whatever stage you are at in your PhD and whatever challenges you are facing with writing, WriteClub will help you create a balanced, productive and satisfying approach to writing. How often is time lost through realising you have too much to do, that you’ve set unrealistic goals, you’ve not the space you thought you had, you’ve lost confidence in what you’re trying to do, or you’re just too tired! 

WriteClub involves a combination of group coaching, peer-working and individual support that creates support, challenge and accountability in ways that help you get your writing done and develop effective writing practices you can sustain in balance with the rest of life.  Paying particular attention to how you prepare to write, the habit of writing, and the goals you set and what holds you back, WriteClub aims for you to end the programme with a sense of satisfaction, balance and confidence in what you’ve achieved, and with a clear sense of how you will take the lessons into the future.

We begin with a day virtual retreat to establish some core principles, and follow with a three-month programme of support that includes group coaching, peer-support and one-to-one communications.

Who is WriteClub for?

PhD WriteClub is for post-graduate researchers at any stage of their career who want to create a successful period of writing and establish a more effective, balanced writing experience.  The WriteClub programme in the past has been attended by researchers, lecturers, professors and PhD students, sometimes at the same time.  It has benefitted people from all disciplines – from physicists to creative writers, sociologists to mathematicians.

What’s involved?

PhD WriteClub is designed to be adaptive to the needs of participants.  It begins with a virtual day retreat to establish some core principles and is followed by a programme of support that includes group coaching, peer-support and one-to-one review. The timetable for the programme is here.

Stage one: WriteHere, rightnow day virtual retreat

The day’s agenda includes:

  • Setting up: Introducing a coaching approach and the relationship between performance, potential and interference; sharing current experience of writing and how participants would like it to be; setting intentions.
  • Engagement: Developing an agreement amongst the group for the time together and establishing principles for writing, including: when it’s writing time, write; separate preparing, drafting and crafting; be curious with a beginner’s mind; warm up & warm down.
  • Live coaching experiments: Focused writing time paired with reflective exercises that lead to insights about process, challenges, successes, and self.  Themes include: setting intentions; realigning vision and purpose; managing fear; being present; seeing mood as perspective; writing with joy, confidence, creativity, focus and rhythm.
  • Developing strategies and commitment: Applying the principles; incorporating new insights; setting the conditions; developing writing habits that sustain momentum; establishing individual goals for the writing period; creating peer-support systems for sharing progress.
stage two: fortnightly group coahing, weekly peer support and one-to-one coaching

Following the retreat, participants will put into practice their writing strategies and will regularly come together to reflect on learning through the following:

  • Group coaching (Zoom): A fortnightly group coaching session offers regular opportunity to reflect on progress.  The topics are adaptive to the themes that participants bring up in the reviews – examples have included staying motivated; pacing oneself; maintaining focus; setting reasonable goals; working with co-authors; managing guilt, anxiety and lethargy. 
  • Optional Peer-support: Participants have the option to support and learn from each other in small self-managed groups. Each group’s members will determine how they want to support each other.  Options might include: weekly check-in; regular shared writing time (virtual); a system of reward and challenge.
  • One-to-one coaching (Zoom): Participants will have the opportunity to receive focused attention from the coaches with a 30 minute one-to-one conversation around the mid-point of the programme. They will have the option of an additional one-to-one 20 minute session on an ad hoc basis if needed at any stage of the programme.
  • Fortnightly review: Each fortnight participants will complete a short review of progress on their goals and questions and receive email support from the coaches as needed.
  • Concluding group call: A final group call at the end of the programme will create space for reflecting on key lessons learned and how to take those forward into everyday practice.


What previous participants have said …

  • “I really appreciate for your help and inputs, and your motivation to us. This programme has helped me a lot, especially in getting my mood back. I don’t know how I did it, but I can say that my draft was only about 20% on the first day of our workshop and in less than 3 months I’ve now written the whole chapters. Well, time pressure might be one factor, but without taking this programme I don’t think I could start writing in the first place. (PhD Researcher, Lecturer, Lancaster University, 2016)
  • “If you hadn’t helped me realise how much of factor fear was in holding me back – I’m not sure the thesis would be in the state it is right now, which is just about good enough to motivate me to keep going! So thanks, I won’t forget that ‘dare’ you made us – it’s much appreciated :)” (PhD researcher, Lancaster University, 2015)
  • “The most useful has been Will’s experience and skills as a coach. He can tune in to each individual and is so versatile in his methods. He is amazing and has truly helped each one of us, and has kept us motivated and focused.” (Lancaster University PhD Researcher, 2016)
  • I became more confident in writing up my idea or my piece of work. Before taking this programme I never had thought that my work was worth to do. (Lancaster University PhD Researcher, 2016)
  • I definitely want more of it. I just wish I had joined this programme sooner, so maybe I could’ve submitted sooner as well. But well, hey I submitted on time and that itself is a big achievement for me as well! (Lancaster University PhD Researcher, 2016)
  • “Will challenged me to give myself the permission to do my own thing, and plough ahead with what I really want to say, in the terms I want to say it in. I haven’t mastered the technique yet, but I am approaching my work in a fundamentally different way than before I began working with Will. (Lancaster University PhD Researcher, 2016)