5 brilliant things you can do for your writing this year

5 brilliant things you can do for your writing this year
Posted on December 19, 2016

This is an updated version of a post I wrote in 2016, all about five brilliant things you could do for your writing in 2017. Things to help make you (and me) a better writer. What I’ve realised since I first wrote it is that these brilliant things relate to any year. Even the strange times of 2020.

Interestingly, only two of these things are specifically writing-related, but all of them will have a positive effect on your words.

•RELAX. I understand the imperative to write. I have it in spades. I also understand the imperative to be published. What I’ve learnt over several years of writing and being published, however, is that all of these things take time.

You can’t force the work – and if you do, you’ll probably need to do so much editing that you’re just creating more work for yourself. And you certainly can’t force the publishing world to sit up and take notice (though you can definitely take steps in that direction!).

What you can do is to work hard, do the best you can, appreciate that the best work takes time, and give yourself some space to enjoy the ride. Because the ride is amazing, trust me.

•TAKE A COURSE. Even the most talented writer in the world can benefit from a course or two. Whether you choose to focus on craft, promotion, or industry knowledge, there’s always something new to learn, whether face-to-face or online.

As an alternative, listening to the 100+ author interviews from So You Want To Be A Writer, my podcast with Valerie Khoo, is a writing course in itself – and it’s free.

•GO TO A CONFERENCE. If you’ve never attended a literary festival or writers’ conference, make this the year you get to one – even if it’s a virtual conference, of which there are many around.

Either choose an event that fits exactly into the genre you’re writing – and most writers’ centres run weekend festivals along these lines, or look for those run by associations such as Romance Writers of Australia – or roll up to the nearest writers’ festival you can find. The best thing about writing events is hanging out with other writers (and yes, Zoom or Facebook Live counts!), talking about writing, immersing yourself in writing. It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating.

•READ BOOKS BY 5 AUSTRALIAN AUTHORS YOU’VE NEVER READ BEFORE. I’m being very specific here, but I am an Australian author and I feel that part of my job is to support my industry. That means reading books by Australian authors.

Doing this helps my writing in two ways – one is that I get to discover the wide and wonderful variety of Australian voices and stories out there. And two, I get to support the industry in which I work.

If you are an Australian writer and you’d like to be a published Australian author, support your industry. It’s easy – and it’s fun!

•WRITE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I know you’re focussed on either finishing your manuscript or polishing your manuscript, but here’s a tip: Take the time to write something different. Exercise a different set of writing muscles.

Whether it’s trying a non-fiction piece – essay, feature article, memoir – or setting out to write the opening chapters of a YA novel, branch out. Start a blog if you don’t have one – it’s great for developing your voice.

I think that sometimes we get locked into the idea of the kinds of things we should be writing, and it’s only when we try something completely different that we, perhaps, discover our true calling.

Allison book signingAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I am the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher. You can find out more about my books here. 

I’ve also created four on-demand courses for the Australian Writers’ Centre: 30 Day Creative Writing Bootcamp, Make Time To Write, Build Your Author Platform and Kids’ Creative Writing Quest (for writers aged 9-14). Find out more about each one by clicking on the title link.


  1. Rashida

    It feels as though this post was written just for me! I’m currently doing some soul searching when it comes to the type of writing I want to do in 2017 especially with baby no.2 on the way. My first child brought an amazing career transition from marketing to feature writing to copywriting, a launch of a new online magazine and a half written novel. Now in 2017 I’m thinking of doing something different – maybe I’ll finish that novel! I love dropping in on you blog Allison always feels like I have my own writing coach. I’ve followed all your writing adventures and wish you many more in 2017!

  2. Michelle Barraclough

    Wonderful advice Allison. How good is that list of literary events?! What a great find.
    I loved reading Australian authors this year. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for my just-turned-six year old daughter to get a few more years under her belt so we can throw ourselves into the Mapmaker Chronicles.
    Have a beautiful, relaxing Christmas Allison x

  3. Maria Parenti-Baldey

    It’s been a big year for learning. Your podcast guided me on the right track with 4 writing courses at AWC. Soon taking the plunge into write your novel, Cathie Tasker so supportive. Thanks for your great author interviews and various tips. I learned that allowing yourself thinking time was valuable.

  4. Debbie Johansson

    Great list Allison. This year I tried something different and wrote my first novella/novelette, which evolved out of writing my first (and only) bush poem. Trying something new certainly helps our writing muscles. Best wishes for Christmas to you and your family and enjoy your holidays!

    • Allison Tait

      Well done Debbie – and best wishes to your clan too!

  5. Zohra Aly

    Great list Al- thank you! Love no. 1 especially, but I know 4 and 5 are probably better for me 🙂
    Have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to reading and hearing more from you in 2017!

    • Allison Tait

      Thanks so much Zohra!

  6. Colleen Goth

    Hi Alison

    I am doing all of these! Cheers and best wishes for Christmas and for 2017. I have my first draft almost finished now and very excited about the writing year ahead.


    • Allison Tait

      Well done Colleen – good luck with the rest of your draft!

  7. Jodi Gibson

    Love these tips. I noticed the other day, most of the books I read this year were by Australian authors. We have such amazing talent and every book was a pleasure to read. Bring on 2017!

    • Allison Tait

      Well done Jodi – hopefully your book will be on the shelf soon too!

  8. Rachel capps

    Excellent advice, Allison! Thanks!

    • Allison Tait

      You’re welcome Rachel – thanks!

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