The new century built it’s phenomenon in the phenomenon’s world like Twitter or Facebook. And the phenomenons in this century followed by too many people so fast because of the communication technology or you can call it with social media. Web isn’t a “one” based space, like societies, it has got subcultures and subphenomenons. Madwriting is a Twitter phenomenon which started by Nancy Parmalee (@nparmalee) while she was writing her thesis and Andrea Kuszewski (@andreakuszewski) is the developer with the hashtag idea in April 2nd 2011. Nancy Parmalee the geneticist, Andrea Kuszewski the Neuroscientist and the first contributor @sumrtime Astrophysicist who were soon followed  by greater number of people.


Madwriting is a twitter phenomenon (using the hashtag #madwriting) where academics, writers, and other people battle procrastination and practice writing by joining up for a short but focused burst of writing. The sessions last for 30 minutes, in which the madwriters try to eschew distractions for writing. After the 30 minutes, the word count is reported on Twitter, and totals are made.

It is seen by its followers (rich in writers and other intellectuals) as a method to attain peer pressure for the encouragement of writing tasks often deposed. As such, it helps to overcome procrastination through positive feedback and the comparison of writing efforts after each session.


The history of its current incarnation:

The Madwriting meme started on the 2nd of April 2011 as an attempt by Nancy Parmalee (@nparmalee) to get some headway into writing her thesis. Others (@AndreaKuszewski and @sumrtime) joined her in this effort, which was soon followed by a greater number of people in subsequent madwriting incarnations. The movement has enjoyed a steady stream of users since then.

The concept origins:

The concept of madwriting is based on writing exercises that Nancy Parmalee led with pre-medical students studying for the medical school entrance exam (MCAT) in the late 90s. Several standardized exams use multiple 30 minute blocks of time for essay writing as a portion of the exam. A significant number of students confessed to being averse to writing, and often to reading. Thus, the writing and verbal reasoning portions of the MCAT presented a significant hurdle for many.  Students often expressed a feeling of panic in regards to the time limit, leading to an impulse to begin writing without having organized the essay in advance.

The original exercise was designed to train students for the specific task of writing a response to a prompt during the MCAT. Two techniques measureably improved the quality of essays written in the format. The first was a five minute brainstorming session; the second was a five minute outlining session. These were undertaken at the beginning of the 30 minute period, leaving 20 minutes remaining to write

The brainstorming technique consisted of writing down words, concepts, phrases, and ideas in response to the prompt. The product of this exercise was not meant to be orderly. The goal was to create a pool of words and ideas to draw from to create an outline, and to generate ideas to write on. Five minutes were allotted to this task.

The second five minutes of the writing period were devoted to creating a detailed outline, based on the ideas generated during the brainstorming session. For the purpose of a standardized exam, the goals of the essay were necessarily formulaic, and therefore each section of the essay had a goal. The same general outline format could be reused from one topic to the next, with the ideas and arguments changing, but the form of the essay, and thus the outline, remaining the same. This rigidity of structure is also seen in scientific publications, grant submissions, and dissertations, making this a useful concept to consider in applying the exercise to other forms.

The key point in creating the outline was that it be sufficiently detailed that the writer would not lose their way while writing. Ideas should be present as a roadmap, with sufficient detail to move from one to the next. The task of learning to organize ideas is one of the most significant challenges a writer will face, regardless of the form or genre of writing.

In practice, when students became well practiced in the exercise, the challenge of generating ideas at the beginning of the writing session generally became easier. For many, with practice, the brainstorming period became unnecessary, and students found they were able to generate an organized outline in the first five minutes and move directly into writing. For others, the task remained more difficult, but the method proved reliable.

Madwriting has focused exclusively on the 30 minute writing session. Launching madwriting on twitter came about as a way to use the support and camaraderie of a social network for the mutual productivity and entertainment of the people participating. More to the point, through the collective efforts of both friends and strangers, the time lost during weekend afternoons in front of the computer could be transmogrified into a writing party.

Thanks to Nancy Parmalee,  Andrea Kuszewski, @sumrtime for being the first #madwriters and B. R. Pauw  for editing the wiki of #madwriting.

Enjoy your #madwriting…

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