By: Ellen McDougall
In January, a group of Classics research and taught postgraduates set out for a weekend away together in rural Perthshire for what was to be the first ever Classics postgraduate writing retreat. In a happy coincidence we discovered upon our arrival that the house that we were staying in for the weekend was located about 500 metres from the site of the most northerly permanently settled Roman encampment in Britain – a very appropriate point for us to be retreating to!
The writing retreat was planned in order to allow Classics postgraduates the opportunity to have a beneficial change of scenery in which to spend several constructive days away writing and to discuss any difficulties that people were experiencing with their work in a more informal environment. In addition to the structured writing and research time on the retreat, I also found it helpful to have an additional pair of eyes and a fresh perspective on a particularly challenging section of writing that I was working on. We also discussed constructive approaches that each of us used when it came to tackling cases of writer’s block or when experiencing difficulties with writing particular sections. Suggestions ranged from free writing to mind mapping, or attempting to explain your argument to someone outwith your field of research. It was useful to be able to share tips and ideas between us and I have brought some of these approaches back into my own work since returning from the retreat.
Overall, the weekend was a productive and enjoyable experience and it was a great opportunity to draw upon a range of perspectives from others here in the postgraduate community.