Shut Up and Write /Create Sessions: Book Now!

In 2020, due to government and institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, professional historians experienced dramatic changes to how we socialise and work. As we learned to negotiate these challenges, I established a series of dedicated Shut Up and Write/Create sessions online. While I no longer Chair these sessions in 2021, I urge you to get in contact if you wish to come along and work (virtually!) along with other professional historians and members of the Victorian GLAM sector. 

A core difference between this model and others in existence is that these Shut Up and Write/Create sessions recognise we are now attempting to negotiate work from our households. These spaces may include housemates, parents, children, or a yodelling Border Collie dog. As a member of these sessions, I understand of some sessions maybe a little less structured than others as we incorporate our home lives into our professional lives. Also, these sessions are unique as they are designed to warmly welcome individuals not just writing but creating, be it artwork, a musical score, choreography planning, and so forth.

Where? When? Who?

Shut Up and Write /Create sessions are run online with Skype. You can locate me by my username colourfulhistories(at)

You don’t need to sign up for a Skype Account to join a meeting. You do need an invitation! Please contact me with your email address to receive an invitation to the session. 

Weekly sessions are be hosted

  • Wednesdays, 8.45 am to 11.00 am (AEST/AEDT)

Session Preparation

  1. Decide what you want to work on during the session
  2. Make some notes (or dot points) to help guide you. Having a plan, however rough, can keep you on track. Perhaps a brief moment of freewriting (no more than ten minutes) or mind mapping will assist you to get started.
  3. Get organised: Check out the Cornell Method to begin locating an organisational system.
  4. Have the materials, articles, and data-ready that you need to start with. Once the session is over you can go back and include additional resources.
  5. Write!

Meeting structure

To ensure we are all on the same page we will start our meetings as scheduled. There will be a brief chat, whereby each person will have an opportunity to say hello and to record their creative goals for that session.

  1. We then set a timer for 25 minutes of uninterrupted writing (or reading, data analysis, or other work).
  2. After 25 minutes we have a 5-minute break to chat and check our progress.
  3. We then head into a 50 minute session after which we take a brief break to talk through our progress.
  4. We then set a timer for the last 25 minutes!

This timing system is based on the Pomodoro Technique. The intention of this structure is to boost focus and productivity.

A brief history of Shut Up and Write

The notion of meeting socially to be highly productive originated from San Francisco. Initially, non-academic writers utilised cafe spaces for a solid hour of writing, followed by a break and coffee and then another block of writing. Like all good ideas, individuals and institutions have adapted the structure to suit their needs. In this instance, we’ve moved online and broadened the format to be more inclusive.

person holding click pen
Shut up and Write (Create) sessions are a productive and innovative way to remain connected and professionally active in our new professional online worlds. Image source: Alice Dietrich. Unsplash.