Similar to other thematic months, like National Arts & Humanities Month, or artistic creative endeavors, such as the 100 Days project, NaNoWriMo is a limited-duration writing project. For archaeologists, we have ArchWriMo and this year the AAI will be posting inspirational prompts in celebration!
ArchWriMo is an archaeology-specific adaptation of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. November is when writers work towards writing an entire novel within a single month. NaNoWriMo defines this as writing a minimum 50,000 word story, roughly 1667 words per day.
Of course, you can write an archaeological data-inspired novel during this month inspired by our prompts. More likely though, for those of us with other writing obligations (um….interests?), we have AcWriMo for Academic Writing Month, and, specifically, ArchWriMo for Archaeology Writing Month.
The goal for ArchWriMo, as we’ve interpreted it, is to focus on whatever academic archaeology writing or work you’d like. This differs from the goal of NaNoWriMo, though you still can write a novel. And, if you do please tell us about it! Due to this divergence, rather than a word count, ArchWriMo is a chance to set academic work intentions for the month. Then, at the end, see how you do–regardless of your daily word count.
After doing some searching on twitter the Data Literacy Program (DLP) found that Dr. Donna Yates was the first to suggest the sub hash tag of #ArchWriMo to fit archaeologists’ needs. This was during AcWriMo in 2015. A year previously, in 2014, she’d assembled an AcWriMo accountability spreadsheet that she shared. Since then, others have copied, adapted, or put together new sheets so that archaeologists can participate under the #ArchWriMo tag.
Over the years, Dr. Yates, Dr. Kate Ellenberger, Liz Quilan, Dr. Laura Heath-Stout, and possibly others have set up the widely shared spreadsheet. This simple spreadsheet facilitated archaeologists from all over the world to outline their intentions for the month and use the #ArchWriMo tag to create community. The sheet is a grassroots effort and Dr. Heath-Stout decided to set up the sheet for 2021, after participating for a few years.
This year Dr. Sarah E. Miller is facilitating this year’s ArchWriMo. So please join othe archaeologists and sign up! Or just use the tag as you do your work this month! Having a tag like #ArchWriMo appealed to Drs. Yates and Heath-Stout because of accountability. The tag generated a sense of community because archaeology writing is often done alone. One can click on it and see what folks are up to!
Everyone’s goals are their own of course, and this November, whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, AcWriMo, ArchWriMo, or just taking the chance to write on your own, the Data Literacy Program wants to celebrate and encourage your work by posting daily writing prompts. We draw these from our new Data Story, 30 Days to an Article: Archaeology Inspiration for Your Writing. To set yourself up for success this #ArchWriMo, a suggestion from Dr. Heath-Stout was to set,
…goals that are just ambitious enough that you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment if you meet them, but not overwhelming. You can always go above and beyond your goals, but don’t set yourself up to fail by setting the bar too high.
This is important if you’re using ArchWriMo or our Data Story to build a writing habit for the future. We’ll post more about that Data Story soon, but in a nutshell, it cultivates data literacy through inspiring regular (or daily) writing practice through data-inspired prompts. Feel free to use these prompts any time if November is too busy for you. For the DLP, NaNoWriMo seemed like a great chance to test our new story. So let us know what you think!
There’s always something to write. Sometimes it’s an article, sometimes it’s a dissertation, sometimes it’s something completely different or a combination of desires. Regardless, we hope that the ArchWriMo community keeps you inspired to get the work you need to do, done. Good luck with your writing and we hope you join us in participating this year!
Updated 31 October 2022 to include Dr. Sarah E. Miller’s call to participate in ArchWriMo!