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Writing Boot Camps

Boot Camps are sponsored by the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program with support from the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Boot camps are structured writing sessions where we provide the space, snacks, and strategy-based support so that you can focus solely on writing. A workshop on the first day helps you create a specific personal plan and concrete writing goals.

Want to know about upcoming boot camps? Check the events calendar or join our listserv (contact Liz Tinelli to be added). We also send announcements about all Graduate Writing Project (GWP) events through the Graduate Studies Office.

Boot camps offer:

  • Guidance for creating individualized writing plans
  • Support for managing writing goals
  • Accountability to your writing process
  • A sense of community with other writers
  • Quiet, dedicated space to write

Boot Camp/Writing Groups Materials:

Tutors are also available during boot camps to:

  • Offer feedback on your writing
  • Discuss your writing process
  • Provide a sounding board for ideas
  • Help you maintain good progress toward your writing goals

Boot camps are held over the summer and throughout the academic year, and can last anywhere from three to five days (typical writing sessions last between three and four hours).

Registration is limited and requires a deposit, which will be returned in full upon completion of all requirements, including attendance and progress toward personal writing goals.

Boot Camp Policies


A deposit of $50 is required for participation in the Boot Camp. This deposit will be returned in full upon completion of the requirements, which include progress towards personal writing goals. If deposits are not paid one week prior to the start of boot camp, your spot may be filled by someone on the waiting list.

Deposits can be paid at the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program located in the Rush Rhees Library, Room G-122. The main office is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. We can accept cash (exact change please) or checks payable to “The University of Rochester.”

We collect deposits for two reasons: to ensure attendance and to create accountability to yourself as a writer.

  • Attendance: If you register and pay the deposit, but do not attend Boot Camp, please understand that your deposit may be kept. If, however, there are extenuating circumstances, or we can fill your spot with someone from the wait list, then your deposit may be returned.
  • Accountability: Once you begin attending Boot Camp, you have made a personal commitment to yourself and the community of writers at Boot Camp. Your deposit represents this commitment. If you are absent or repeatedly tardy, your deposit may be kept.

Boot Camp FAQ

What is a Writing Boot Camp?

Boot Camp is an intensive writing retreat; it provides a dedicated time and space for your writing. Please note: We do not assign writing or give lectures on writing during Boot Camps. You work on a self-selected writing project. While writing consultants are available to talk with you about your individual writing project, Boot Camp sessions are fairly independent, and you will spend most of the time working on your own writing project. At the start and end of sessions, you will share your writing goals and progress with a small group to help hold you accountable to making progress.

Who are Boot Camps for?

Boot Camps are designed for University of Rochester graduate students from Arts, Sciences and Engineering who are working on graduate-level academic writing, such as dissertations, MA theses, dissertation proposals, papers for publication, etc. While the primary focus of Boot Camp is to write, we understand that writing and reading are an integrated process, and you are permitted to conduct short, focused readings during writing sessions, provided you have clear and specific goals.

What kind of support is offered?

In addition to having a quiet space, writing supplies, and snacks, you also have the option to schedule an individual appointment with a Writing Consultant during the hours of Boot Camp. All of our consultants are trained to work with writing from across the disciplines. In keeping with the policies and principles of the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program, consultants cannot provide editing or proofreading services, but they can discuss your writing project and process with you and share writing strategies useful to your work. For example, consultant sessions might include discussions about:

  • Strategies for project management, including time management, setting reasonable short-term and long-term goals, recognizing progress, and creating action plans that help you meet writing and revision goals
  • Planning strategies, such as outlining, freewriting, and other pre-writing activities
  • Strategies for effective literature reviews or abstracts
  • Strategies for writing effective introductions or conclusions
  • Organizational strategies
  • Self-editing strategies
  • Revision techniques

How do I prepare?

Just show up with your materials! Writers at any stage of the writing process are welcome to join Boot Camp. Whether you have a course paper or are working on final edits for a dissertation, simply come to Boot Camp with the materials you need to make progress on your project (e.g., a laptop, reference materials, your research, etc.).

Why not just write alone?

Students that have participated in Boot Camps have reported making greater progress toward their writing goals. Accountability to, and being surrounded by, a group of peers helps students stay focused and motivated.