Winter 2018 Writing Bootcamp

Finding time to work on a big project like a thesis or major research paper can be difficult. As you try to juggle your daily obligations, time slips away. Joining a group in which you commit to a clearly defined writing schedule can make the writing process much more manageable.

Carleton’s Writing Bootcamps can help you get back on the path to completion. Facilitated by a dedicated TA, the Bootcamps are open to graduate students from any department or discipline. As a participant, you will commit to attending a series of daylong sessions in which you will engage in focused work on a writing project, whether it be your dissertation/thesis, a journal article, a course paper, or anything else requiring quiet concentration. Engaging in solitary work in the company of other students provides a feeling of camaraderie without distractions.


When is the Bootcamp?

The 2018 winter term Bootcamp will run during Winter Break, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on February 20, 21, and 22. Space is limited to a maximum of 12 (**now 15!**) people.

The location will be 431 Tory Building, a new active learning room with lots of space, sunlight, and moveable furniture. Light breakfast and lunch items will be provided each day in a separate room. There are no food and drinks allowed in 431 Tory.

Who can register for the Bootcamp?

All grad students from any department are welcome! You do not have to be working as a TA to attend.

Who runs the Bootcamp, and will hours spent in the Bootcamp count toward TA training hours?

Carleton University’s Writing Bootcamps are jointly run by the Centre for Student Academic Success’s Writing Services and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs. These workshops are provided as a special service and time spent in these workshops will not count toward TA training hours unless otherwise specified.

How is the Bootcamp structured?

Each day will consist of a series of writing “blocks” in which you will write in silence for one hour. At the start of each session, you will set your own goals for the day. At the end of each session, you will share a summary of what you accomplished. At any point during the day, you can discuss your work with the Bootcamp Coordinator. Short presentations by guest speakers may be given during select sessions.

Are there any special Bootcamp rules?

The Bootcamp is a space for everyone to work, so students will be asked to respect each other’s working habits. Here are some general rules:

  • During writing blocks, everyone must work quietly.
  • Conversation is welcome outside of the Bootcamp room or during breaks.
  • You can ask the Bootcamp Coordinator if you’d like to talk through your ideas (outside).
  • If you like to listen to music while writing, you are welcome to bring headphones.

How can I register for the Bootcamp?

To register, please fill out the form on the Bootcamp registration page.

Space is limited to 12 people. If you have any questions about the Bootcamp, please contact Matthew by email at

You might also want to consider joining our Bootcamp instructor’s weekly writing group!

Other Writing Development Resources

There are a range of workshops and resources available for Carleton University’s graduate students, including international students. The Bootcamp Coordinator does not organize any of the sessions outlined below.

Writing Services

Housed in the Centre for Student Academic Support, Carleton University’s Writing Services offers free 1-to-1 consultations for undergraduate and graduate students in any department.

Whether it’s getting started, thinking through your ideas, presenting information in an academic form, or developing strategies to review your own work, Writing Services’ tutors are ready and able to help at any stage in your writing process.

Appointments are available on a drop-in basis. Simply show up to the Centre for Student Academic Support on the fourth floor of the MacOdrum Library to see a tutor at the next available time.

Live off-campus and need some help before you can get back to campus? Book an online tutor session.

MacOdrum Library Workshops

Carleton’s Research Librarians run several quality workshops throughout the term that may help you with your research and writing.

The “Thesis Jumpstart” suite of workshops is designed for students who are beginning the process of writing a thesis/dissertation.

International Grad Student Writer’s Retreat (Winter 2018)

If you are an international graduate student, the International TA Mentor will be hosting a Writer’s Retreat dedicated to developing the writing skills of international graduate students. The Writer’s Retreat will run in February 2018, and will offer ESL/EFL style writing classes, including 1-to-1 consultation.

For more information on the Writer’s Retreat for international graduate students, please contact the International TA Mentor, Christopher Smith.

Who is the Bootcamp Coordinator?

For the 2017-18 academic year, Matthew Falconer will run the Writing Bootcamps and additional writing workshops for grad students. Matthew is a PhD student in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies and is working on his dissertation. Since 2011, he has worked with hundreds of students as a tutor in Writing Services (2011-2013; 2015-16) and in the Educational Development Centre as the International TA Mentor (2016-17).

You can contact Matthew by email at