In navigating the chaos of clinical practice, teaching, and committee service, it can be difficult for family medicine faculty to prioritize scholarship amongst other weekly—or even monthly—responsibilities. Possible barriers to scholarly activity include the increased need for didactic or experiential teaching, lack of awareness of different forms of scholarship, and few role models or mentors for scholarship.1
Formation of a writing group or writers’ circle is one method to garner peer support or augment faculty mentorship programs with regards to scholarship.2-5 Here, participants have a forum to discuss potential projects, get suggestions for research dissemination, and receive feedback on current projects. More importantly, writing groups encourage faculty to schedule and protect time for scholarly activity. Faculty participation in writing groups has resulted in an increased number of publications and improved confidence among junior faculty.5
How do you set up a writing group? Here are five steps for success:
Identify colleagues who will hold you accountable—this is your tribe.
A tribe is defined as a group of people with common characteristics, occupations, or interests. Your writing group should consist of individuals who have a variety of expertise, are open to discussing scholarship, and share an availability to meet at least once a week. Most writing groups described in health professions literature have approximately four to ten participants.2-5 They do not necessarily need to be collaborators on existing projects. However, writing group participation could most certainly lead to new collaborations!