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Successful Writing Groups

Writing groups are a great way to improve the proposal development experience. Peers can share funding opportunities, review drafts, find templates, as well as provide accountability and encouragement to submit the proposal. For a successful writing group, use the below list of topics to guide an initial conversation with your writing group to establish guidelines and set the group up for success.

  • Identify group members. Establish a committed group of writing peers. Work together to set the goals and parameters of the group.
  • Individual writing goals. What do you need to have written in the next week, month, quarter, and year? Breaking up a proposal in to separate components can make the proposal development process more manageable.
  • Group goals. Is this group intended to provide protected quiet writing time or as a space for discussion on proposal development challenges or to provide regular peer-review opportunities?
  • Feedback expectations. If there will be a significant amount of peer-reviewing expected of group members, discuss what kind of feedback is expected and when. Be careful not to create too much extra work for colleagues.
  • Group member responsibilities. Will there be a facilitator at each meeting, writing requirements, or peer-review feedback expectations? Is attendance at each meeting mandatory?
  • Location. Will you meet at a campus library, a reserved room on campus, a coffee shop, someone’s house, or a new location each time? Another alternative is to meet virtually or have phone check-ins.
  • Timeline. Will this group meet monthly for the next year; weekly for the next quarter; daily for the next week; or something in between?

Looking for postdocs to participate in your grant writing group? Consider attending a Postdoc Fellowship Forum.