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10 Reasons You Should Do Digital Writing Month

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[This is a guest post by the Hybrid Pedagogy team: Sean Michael Morris, Pete Rorabaugh, Jesse Stommel, and Robin Wharton.--@jbj]

Digital Writing Month (affectionately known as DigiWriMo) is a unique challenge. This MOOCish, course-like thing asks participants to write 50,000 words during the 30 days of November. Brought to you by the minds behind the mini, meta-MOOC, MOOC MOOC, this new adventure promises to be a wild exploration of how learning and writing happen online. The event will bring together teachers; high school, college, and prospective students; and local, national, and international participants. Inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), DigiWriMo will crack the lid off what it means to write online.

Here are the top 10 reasons why you absolutely, without a doubt, should participate in the event starting in just a few short days.

1. Because no one has yet tapped the full potential of digital writing, and this is your chance to discover a vast wellspring of virtual creativity.
We’re pretty sure no one understands what digital writing is or can accomplish. If, as Sean Michael Morris suggests, “Digital writing is a rebellion”, then we’re calling for all rebels to rally together and sally forth. Digital writing constantly reinvents itself (even as we write this, even as you read this). Where it can go, what it can do and undo, is up to you!

2. You’re uncertain you’ll succeed.
There’s no better reason to join DigiWriMo than to prove to yourself you can not only write 50,000 words in a month, but those words can mean something. Digital writing isn’t about writing down nonsense or blather, it’s about words becoming community, becoming experience, becoming action. You’ll succeed the minute you post your first tweet, your first blog, your first discussion thread, your first comment. As soon as you succeed once, you’ll realize how intoxicating it is… And you’ll want to keep doing it!

3. Someone out there hasn’t already said what you want to say.
Of all the zillions of words out there on the web, no single essay or novel or blog or Storify has yet told the story you want to tell, or said what you want to say, or unleashed the great thoughts still swimming in your head.

4. This whole thing seems undignified, not something in which serious academics should participate.
Scholarship can not possibly be as fun and exhilarating as DigiWriMo… But since when was an exploration of form, genre, medium, and language not a perfect fit for any and all academic writers? Imagine walking away at the end of November with all the material you need for a new article, essay, or monograph!

5. You love to write.

6. There’s an audience that wants to hear what you have to say.
It’s not all about you.

7. The free market of ideas depends on fierce competition… and also collaboration.
MOOCs facilitate the proliferation and examination of scholarship. DigiWriMo hovers between contest and challenge for its participants, a massive open online course (MOOC), and a research tool for those interested in the practice of digital writing.

8. The computer has you in its clutches.
Digital writing includes all text written, transferred, and published electronically — from e-mail and text messages, to blogs, Twitter posts, and Facebook updates. But the practice of digital writing also encompasses the relationships between image and text, format/medium and message, composition and code, human and machine. Give yourself over to the playful abandon of digital writing.

9. Because friends don’t let friends write alone.
“We believe that digital writing is a core practice for the emergent digital humanities field,” says Jesse Stommel, Director of the English and Digital Humanities program (EDH) at Marylhurst University; “but we believe it’s mostly misunderstood. We can no longer write the way we used to write, because the writing itself isn’t the same as it used to be. When people join us in this experiment with digital writing, they’ll discover writing has evolved in surprising ways.”

10. Digital writing is never finished.
Does digital writing change the way people write for print? Does it change the way people read? How does writing digitally affect the author’s voice? How does it affect the cultivation or response of its audiences? More than that, does digital writing even exist in the way traditional writing does, or does it only exist when it is put to use, when it is organized, parsed, repurposed?

In November, Hybrid Pedagogy and the EDH program at Marylhurst will host DigiWriMo. Participants will conspire, collaborate, co-author, cooperate, collude, and even compete to reach their goal in whatever form they see fit: blog posts, text message novellas, code poems, Twitter essays, wiki novels, some creative wizardry of text and image, and more! For updates, pre-register and follow @DigitalEnglish and @DigiWriMo on Twitter.

Photo by Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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