It’s episode #137 and I’m chatting with Michelle Boyd, PhD, the founder of InkWell Academic Writing Retreats, a transformative, retreat-based training program that teaches scholars to overcome their writing fears.

I met Michelle through a personal introduction via Tara McMullin’s small business What Works Network. Someone there thought I’d like Michelle and her work, and they were completely right.

Michelle is a kindred spirit and does wonderful work in the world. I’m so delighted to share a conversation that traverses (and helps me heal) the world of academia and academic writing, making the switch to entrepreneurship and supporting aspiring writers. Michelle also shared a bit about her affirming experience at an HBCU (historically black university), which, for me as a white Canadian, was a new learning. So, before I give too much more of our conversation away, I’ll share more about Michelle and her accomplishments, and then jump into our conversation.

Michelle is an award-winning writer, a former tenured faculty member, and the founder of InkWell Academic Writing Retreats, where she specializes in helping stuck, scared scholars free themselves from fear and build a satisfying, sustainable writing practice.

She has been leading scholarly writing retreats since she was a faculty member in 2012, when she co-founded and coached a dissertation writing retreat for graduate students studying race and ethnicity. Three years later, Michelle left academia and founded InkWell, and has since helped hundreds of scholars—from all ranks and a wide range of institutions and inter/disciplines—move past their anxieties, reconnect with their writing, and develop a calmer, more confident, more productive writing practice.

Michelle has received many honors for her scholarly, nonfiction, and audio work. Her book Jim Crow Nostalgia: Reconstructing Race in Bronzeville was a Finalist for the 2006 SSHA President’s Book Award and winner of the 2008 Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association. 

Her essay Backpack was a Finalist for the 2015 Columbia Journal Writing Contest. And along with co-producer Erica Meiners, she won the 2013 Lux/Lumina Multimedia Audio Essay Contest for their audio essay Reconstructions.

In addition, ​Michelle is a self-described struggling writer whose success as a writer and scholar belies the challenges she faces throughout her career as an academic. Michelle knows what it’s like to have no time to write, to procrastinate when there is time, and to struggle when the writing is going nowhere. 

Better yet, she knows—from experience and research—that successful scholars write from the inside out: they turn inward to discover their own writing process. So they can find the calm and courage they need to stay connected to their writing. 

Her book Becoming the Writer You Already Are is forthcoming with SAGE in 2022.

It was so lovely to connect with Michelle, and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy listening in.

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Episode Transcript – coming soon

(note: the transcript is autogenerated by AI and is about 85% accurate)