#JustWrite: An online research writing retreat

For so many of researchers, the hardest part about writing is, well… actually writing.

You might know that struggle to open the damn document.
Or to open it, but then spend the next 6 hours staring at a blinking cursor.
Or the pain of rewriting the same paragraph 998 times, only to delete the whole thing.


I’ve been there too. All of us have.

Sometimes, all we need is a little support and accountability. Someone to fist pump the air on your behalf. A gathering of sorts to write, groove, metaphorically-dance together.

So the JustWrite online research writing retreat with The Messy PhD offers you exactly this:

For 30 days in September, you’ll receive a huge dose of inspiration, tips, support, community and encouragement for you to just write what you need to write.

> You’ll decide on a daily writing goal – this goal can be as small or as large as you want it to be (for example: write for 30 minutes daily; write 500 words).

> Elect to work on one main project (e.g. a journal article, a thesis chapter), or several small writing pieces (e.g. mini essays, thought pieces, research journal entries)

> Share your goals in our weekly group coaching calls (and/or share your current hurdles and we’ll offer suggestions and help for getting through ’em!)

> Get writing! We’ll write/work through the weekdays and have a full proper break on the weekends*

> Share your progress, wins, challenges in the secret Facebook group we’ll have just for the challenge.

* Throughout this challenge, taking adequate breaks and doing fun, joyful things will be as important as the writing

* Daily writing boosts

Every day of the challenge, you’ll receive a short email with inspiration, tips and resources to get you going for the day.

* Weekly group coaching calls

I’ll host a group coaching call each Tuesday where you’ll:

  • receive a mini training from me for up-levelling your writing practice and goals
  • meet other researchers in the challenge
  • share your goals for the week
  • recount how your previous week has gone
  • celebrate what you’ve accomplished in the past week, or talk out any blocks you’re facing

* Daily Zoom room (optional)

A retreat-only Zoom ‘room’ will be ‘open’ for 8 hours every week day for you to join and write with other retreat members, whenever you like. You’ll be welcome to use the space for:

  • co-writing sessions
  • an extra dose of accountability and community support/celebration
  • friendship and connection: a chance to catch-up with fellow writers

* Downloadable resources

  • Workbook to track and celebrate your writing progress during the challenge
  • Research writing prompts
  • Printable writing inspo cards

*Secret Facebook group

There’ll be a special Facebook group just for members of this writing retreat, for you to stay in touch with fellow researchers, ask questions, share your wins and worries, and make some new writerly-researchy pals!


Oh yeah, everyone loves a good prize! I’ll share more details when you’ve signed up, but you’ll stand a chance to win:

  • a one-hour one-to-one coaching session with me on any aspect of doctoral research (valued at £80)
  • the full cost of the retreat refunded to you
  • a surprise (writerly) gift in the post, sent directly to you!

Allllllllll this for just a nifty little £28

That’s less than £1 a day to get you ahead on those writing goals and level up your writing game. Whaaaaat!!

Oh yes!

AND: the priceless bonuses of some seriously good vibes, new connections and friendships, and the promise of getting a good, chunky chunk of words down on that open document.

PLUS: all resources shared during the challenge will be yours to keep, including recordings of the group coaching sessions, downloadable resources, daily email inspo and access to the Facebook group.

Your host for the retreat is Jamie Khoo, founder of The Messy PhD and PhD coach/trainer. Jamie completed her own PhD in Women’s Studies from the University of York and began conducting doctoral training while she was still completing her own PhD. She has won awards for speaking about her research, and been invited to speak at various events, in academia and beyond.

Since completing her PhD in early 2020, she set up The Messy PhD online community to offer support, training and community to PhD and early career researchers. She also conducts training for institutions on diverse aspects of the PhD, including public engagement, researcher wellbeing and the ‘messier’, emotional components of research.

Discover more about her approach to training and ‘PhD-ing’ on her website: jamiekhoo.com

Jamie has an authoritative voice across both her webinar and article content which has been well received by the Charlesworth global academic researcher community.”
~ Jean Dawson, Charlesworth Author Services

“Jamie is an excellent public speaker and doctoral research trainer – engaging, energetic, insightful, and a very clear communicator. She is both a confident and skilled independent professional and highly collaborative in her approach. ”
~ Sarah Masefield, Researcher, University of York

“She is a natural collaborator, extremely well organised and always seeking to reflect and improve on past performance. Her motivation and drive to support students on their PhD journey has enabled her to plan and run a series of online workshops that have enhanced student wellbeing and sense of community, during an otherwise challenging time. 
~ Francina Clayton, Researcher Developer, University of York