Everyone has something to write and often only needs a little extra motivation to get started and to keep going. That’s why we were instantiating the MathCoRe writing camp – an informal get-together of this time 7 PhD fellows and faculty staff in a seminar room with the goal of exchanging tips and techniques and getting some writing done.
The camp started with setting up the agenda before everyone introduced his particular writing task and the goals she/he set for the upcoming hours of the camp. We classified the tasks by the ratio of conceptual work (like doing math or planning structure or the notation) and plain writing and found the whole range covered from need to prove a Lemma till just transfer my notes into well-looking latex code.
Then we went for several writing sessions of about 1 hour each that were interrupted by discussion rounds where we exchanged personal best-practices (like start with a rough outline on paper, use standardized macro packages, often, it is less stressful to retype a word rather than going back to fix a typo) and tools (like editors, latexmk, best of Latex packages). The first day was concluded by a joint dinner in a bar close by.
After the final session, we checked back with the goals that we had posed the day before and raised our general experiences with the event. Turned out that all goals were reached up to a reasonable level with some positive outliers. Generally, leaving aside productivity gains, the social component of the joint and concentrated writing was very highly appreciated. Also the market place of tools and strategies was deemed interesting and helpful.
Wishes for a future release of this activity, which will certainly happen in fall, included more people joining and small intermediate peer-reviews concerning the writing style.