#OTalk Research – 7th September 2021 – Writing productively

This week’s chat will be co-hosted by Katrina Bannigan @KatrinaBannigan from Glasgow Caledonian University with Nikki Daniels @NikkiDanielsOT on the #OTalk account.

Most of us are aware of the importance of writing, particularly peer reviewed papers, to ensure that our research findings have impact. That said, peer reviewed papers are not the whole story because so much of what we do as researchers is dependent on writing, for example, blogs, social media posts and patient information leaflets. Yet, even though writing is an important part of the research process, many of us struggle to write and most would argue it is challenging to find time to write. This is because we think we can only be productive if we have a substantial period of time to write. Rowena Murray has challenged us to rethink our approach to writing and there are a number of things we can do to become more productive writers.

One of the things she suggests is social writing— writing in a group with other people—which can increase motivation and promote accountability (Murray, 2015). To gauge if there was any interest in a writing group for occupational therapists, I wrote a blog and asked anyone who was interested to contact me. This led to me starting the occupational therapy writing group (@otwg_gcu) in February this year. Group sessions are held on zoom twice a week

  • 18.00-20.00 (BST) on Tuesdays
  • 09.00-11.00 (BST) on Fridays 

Only occupational therapists are invited to make it as comfortable and non-threatening an environment as possible. It seems to be working as we have had attendance at every session since it started usually between 9-18 people. Students who have attended the group found it so helpful they started their own group for students as part of their dissertation module; they wrote about their experience in a blog. Other people have described it as

  • The @otwg_gcu is excellent! Such as supportive space for a mix of academics, clinicians and students to set goals and focus on writing. Highly recommend” (Dr Carolynne White @Carolynne_OT March 18) 
  • …“I’ve seen great feedback on it, great way to protect time to do writing and get peer support” (Dr Mary Birken, @MaryBirken, March 2021)
  • This has been such a boost for my writing productivity..definitely time well spent. And joyous to connect with other OTs! (Dr Leisle Ezekiel, @lezeki, August 2021)
  • Starting a regular writing habit through @otwg_gcu has really helped me keep on track with writing and feel productive. Structure helps juggling competing demands” (Leona McQuaid, @LeonaMcquaid, August 2021)

This is why this month’s research #OTalk is focussing on writing productively. So whether you are a student, practitioner, researcher, manager, commissioner or policy maker please join in the discussion to share your experience and/ or learn about strategies for writing productively and how the @otwg_gcu is supporting occupational therapists to write.

Why not join in this #Otalk discussion and start to explore your writing habits? After all, our Chair of Council, Professor Diane Cox (2017), described writing about our work as being part of our lives as occupational beings. In the #OTalk discussion we will use the following questions to structure the discussion but please feel free to join in with other questions and perspectives:

  1. Is Professor Diane Cox (2017) right when she says writing about our work is part of our lives as occupational beings?
  1. Does anything prevent you from writing?
  1. Do you have any useful strategies, or writing habits, to support your writing productivity?
  1. Do you think a writing group can provide a source of writing accountability?
  1. What one habit will you adopt in the coming year to become more productive as a writer?


COX, D. (2017) The Dr Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture 2017: Life as an occupational being. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 80(9) 525–532. DOI: 10.1177/0308022617722331
MURRAY, R. (2015). Writing in social spaces. Routledge.


Host:  Katrina Bannigan. @KatrinaBannigan.

Support on OTalk Account: @NikkiDanielsOT

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

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