Write 5000 words with me in January!

Write 5000 words with me in January!

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to words like GOALS, CHANGE and DREAMS.

If your dream is to write – ‘write more’, ‘write that novel’, ‘write something’, ‘get serious about writing’ or words to that effect – I’ve got the kickstart you need.

Join my Write With Allison Tait group now to participate in the #Fresh5000 31-day writing and creativity challenge throughout January.

Every day there’ll be a new prompt to kickstart your writing word count for the year or a challenge to expand your creative thinking.

By the end of January, if you stick with me, you’ll have added at least 5000 words to your work in progress, and have filled your creative well in new ways, too!

Join Write With Allison Tait here.


What is Write With Allison Tait?

Write With Allison Tait is an online writing group, facilitated through a Facebook group, and featuring two live Zooms each month:

• The Access Al Areas, which is an ‘Ask Me Anything’, offering an opportunity to talk about your writing progress with me and other group members, and ask any burning questions you may have about writing, editing, publishing, book publicity, podcasting, building an author platform and anything else you can think of.

• The Industry Insider, which is an intimate Q&A with an industry expert. Previous guests have included

authors, such as Dervla McTiernan, Kate Forsyth, Natasha Lester, Graeme Simsion, Anna Spargo Ryan, Rachael Johns, Ashleigh Barton, Meredith Jaffe, Pamela Cook, Angela Slatter

publishers, editors and agents, including Laura Sieveking (Scholastic Australia), Sophie Hamley (Hachette), Nicola O’Shea (freelance editor), Annabel Barker (literary agent),

industry professionals, such as Michelle Barraclough (author websites), Rah Gardiner (author’s assistant and tech), Anna Featherstone (indie publishing expert)

All Zoom sessions are recorded and remain accessible for members of the group to watch at any time.

The program for 2024 is shaping up with a bestselling children’s author, award-winning screenwriter, literary agent, publisher, and more in the mix.

On top of our Zooms, I also run at least two Creative Challenges each year to help you make progress with your manuscript. In 2023, we did the #Fresh5000 (January), the #Spark7000 (July) and #HaveAGoMo (November).


Who is the group for?

The group is for writers of all kinds, carrying on my philosophy from my years with the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast that we learn something from every writer we hear from, and I bring my own broad-ranging expertise (children’s author, non-fiction author, freelance writer, podcaster and interviewer) to the table.

In 2023, members of the group have been published in picture books, middle-grade and YA fiction, as well as historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, romance, and more.

Whether you’re writing your first novel and trying to get to The End, you’ve written a manuscript and you’re wondering what to do next,  you’ve published a book (indie or traditional) and you want to know how to spread the word about it, you’re trying to write novel #2, you want to know more about what publishers want or how the industry works, or you need the encouragement and motivation of being part of a group of like-minded people, this group is for you.

If you’ve ever wanted to pick my brains or sit down for a coffee with me, it’s also for you.

Membership is $29.95 a month.

Find out all the details and join here.



Checking in with Write with Allison Tait is an essential part of my writing routine.

“I love being a member of Al’s online writing group (Write with Allison Tait).

“In addition to chatting with like minded people who encourage and lift each other up, Al is a constant and vibrant source of insider writing and publishing tips. Al’s abundance of knowledge and enthusiasm for the writing craft means that she can answer any queries thrown her way – and if she doesn’t know, will make it her priority to find out.

“I love the engaging zoom meetings where we discuss individual triumphs and difficulties; as well as the informative sessions with specialist guests including well known authors, publishers, editors and more. Checking in with Write with Allison Tait is an essential part of my writing routine.” – Lisa Heidke 


A generous mentor who has a lot to offer

“I have been a member of Write with Allison Tait online writing group since May 2022. WWAT is an inclusive and encouraging writing community offering a range of benefits to members. This includes engagement with industry experts from whom I have gained invaluable insights into the writing process. 

“Accountability is another key feature. Regular check-ins, writing challenges, and goal-setting exercises have motivated me and provided a sense of camaraderie.  

“Allison is a generous mentor who has a lot to offer given her extensive experience as a author, writing teacher and blogger.” – Pauline Wilson 

Join us! 


writing group Allison TaitAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

For full details about Write With Allison Tait, my online writing community offering Inspiration, Motivation, Information and Connection, go here

Writing tips and advice you may have missed

Writing tips and advice you may have missed

I’ve been out and about talking about writing, teaching writing, writing about writing… what I haven’t been doing is blogging about writing here, on my actual blog.

So, to make up for it, here’s a list of blog posts, full of writing tips and advice, you may have missed, plus some recent interviews where I chatted about writing The First Summer of Callie McGee, and even a chance to spend a day with me learning the ins and outs of being a children’s author (I’d love to see you there!)


16 writing posts you may have missed

The creative magic of the mundane

How to pitch yourself to a podcast: an author’s guide

5 short stories to read right now to make you a better writer

Want to be a children’s author? Here’s why you need to learn to present to kids

How to maintain tension in a romance novel when you know there is a happy ending

5 ways to keep your reader guessing in a crime novel

Are you a teenager who loves writing? Here are seven ways to become a better writer

How to build your author platform before your book is published

How to write your book’s acknowledgements page

Simple steps to blog your way to success as an author

10 Australian authors on Substack

How to create a book series bible

4 writing books you need

Six simple tips for proofreading

The write-changing joy of tidying your office

“It’s never too late” and other great writing tips


Recent podcast interviews

Allison Tait talks about writing on Reading With A Chance of TacosReading With A Chance of Tacos

Ken and I cover a lot of territory about the choices you make when you’re writing for a middle-grade audience, why Callie McGee is set in a contemporary world and not my signature ‘almost history’ and a whole lot more.

Spoiler: we did not eat tacos, so there will be no chewing in your ear.

Find it here. 


Allison Tait on Healthyish podcastHealthyish

Host Felicity Harley and I take a dive into how to tap into creativity (and it’s probably not the way you think).

If you’d like to harness more creativity – and write more – within your busy daily life, this one is for you.

Listen here. 


The joy of escape reads for kidsYour Kid’s Next Read

I always forget to mention my own podcast, but in this episode my co-host Megan Daley asks the questions educators want to know about The First Summer of Callie McGee.

We also have a chat about the importance of ‘escape reads’ for kids.

Listen here. 


So you want to be a children’s author?

Children's author writing workshop at SCWCHave you been thinking about writing a children’s book? Or maybe you’ve started and don’t know what to do next?

Join me at the South Coast Writers’ Centre, Coledale, NSW, on Saturday 7 October, 10.30am-3pm, and let’s talk about ALL THE THINGS!

In the first part of this half-day workshop, I’ll share my insider secrets and practical tips on writing for children. All the things I’ve learnt through hard-won experience.

I’ll look at the top 10 questions you need to ask yourself in order to write a great book for kids – as well as answering any burning questions you might have.

In part two, we’ll dive into how to build a successful longterm career as a children’s author. From promoting your work to writing the next book, get the inside track to save you time and heartache.

Come along and say hello!

Find out more and get tickets here.


Allison Tait on why children's literature mattersAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, insights and more amazing writing advice.

Or check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.

The inside story of ‘The First Summer Of Callie McGee’

The inside story of ‘The First Summer Of Callie McGee’

My new book, The First Summer of Callie McGee, is out now in bookshops everywhere – and I’m at home in that strange netherworld that is post-launch day.

Pre-publication day, the anticipation builds and builds, like those epic summer thunderstorms that press the very air down on you for hours before they finally burst into a light- and sound-show followed by furious drenching rain.

Unfortunately, publication day brings less of the light and sound and fury, and more the sound of boxes of books being opened in bookshops across the country and the slight rusting of pages as the books are placed upon the shelves.

The day after is just… business as usual. Except that I’m typing with my fingers crossed, hoping that readers will love Callie as much as I do.


The inside story of Callie McGee

In the headline, I’ve promised you the inside story on the book, but I think the best way to get that is to listen to me talk about it.

I’m the special guest on a veritable bonanza of podcasts this week, and each of them will bring you a slightly different perspective on this story and how it came about.


So You Want To Be A Writer

A. L. Tait talks about writing The First Summer of Callie McGeeFor a deep dive into the process of writing the book, from that first glimmer of inspiration to working through the complexity of creating the procedure of the mystery element, don’t miss my conversation with Valerie Khoo on So You Want To Be A Writer.

It was so nice to be back chatting to Val about all things writing and publishing. I spent seven years as co-host of this podcast, so sliding back into this space is like coming home.

But it’s a home where your Mum does not hold back on asking the hard questions, and I can always count on Val to keep asking ‘why?’ until I manage to articulate some part of my writing process that seems impossible to explain.

So we talk about the writing, we talk about wading into uncertainty and the memories of being 12, and we talk about re-drafting manuscript themes downwards. But we also talk about the very real challenges of establishing and maintaining a longterm author career.

You know you can count on us to be honest and get to the very crux of this stuff, so it’s worth a listen.

Find it here, or where you get your podcasts.


Words and Nerds

A L Tait talks about The First Summer of Callie McGeeThe thing I love about chatting with author and podcaster Dani Vee on the Words and Nerds podcast is knowing that the conversation will ramble its way into unexpected places and interesting revelations. And so it proved yet again.

We talked about The First Summer of Callie McGee, solving the puzzle of who we are and writing books outside our comfort zones.

But we also talk about publicity for authors from a journalist’s perspective, and how to find different ways to draw attention to your book – by thinking outside the box of your book, guest posting on blogs, making connections, getting your byline in the article, understanding the importance of booksellers and hand selling and the awesomeness of librarians.

If you’re a children’s author or would like to be one day, don’t miss this one!

Find it here, or where you get your podcasts.


KidLit Classics

If you haven’t discovered this podcast gem, you’re in for a treat! Hosted by author Samantha-Ellen Bound, KidLit Classics podcast invites contemporary children’s authors to discuss one book from their own childhood that made them a writer today.

I had the most wonderful time chatting to Samantha-Ellen about Callie’s Castle by Ruth Park. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or listening to my various podcasts over the years, you’ll have heard this book come up before, but here we take a long, hard look at the beginning of my turret fixation.

To discuss the book, I had to read the book again and remain in awe of Park’s ability to create broad brushstrokes of a world, emotions and characters with a few fine details.

And yes, our characters share a name, but I swear this revealed itself to me only when Samantha-Ellen asked me to choose a book for this podcast episode. Until that moment, I hadn’t thought about Callie and her castle for years – but deep down in the part of the brain where fond memory lives, there she was.

I hope she’d like Callie McGee.

Find the episode here, or where you get your podcasts.


And an opportunity to ask your own questions

Writer’s Bookclub Podcast

The Writer's Bookclub A. L. TaitAuthor Michelle Barraclough’s Writers’ Bookclub Podcast has its own special twist on the author interview format – you get to ask the questions!

Michelle has chosen The First Summer of Callie McGee as her first middle-grade book to explore and dissect, and you can play along by reading the book and then posting any questions you might have for me about any aspect of writing the book to the group Facebook page before 15th August. (See How It Works here)

Michelle and I have a date later this month to interview an episode for the podcast where she asks me all your questions.

All the details on how to join in here.


A. L. Tait The First Summer of Callie McGeeAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries, and my latest novel ‘The First Summer of Callie McGee’. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, and tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast!


Write 6000 words with me in August

Write 6000 words with me in August

Building a writing habit is the key to getting a novel written. Showing up is half the battle.

But making the time to write is not always easy – and sometimes a little bit of help goes a long way.

With that in mind, I’ve created #Spark6000, a new Creative Challenge this August for the members of Write With Allison Tait (WWAT), my online writing group.

Part word-count building, part creativity bending, the #Spark6000 challenge is designed to create a sustainable writing habit.

The kind of habit that you can maintain not just for one month, but for many, many months. After all, 6000 x 12 = 72,000 words – a very respectable first draft of an adult novel, or a complete YA or children’s novel (and then some, in some areas of that market).

With me right in there beside you to cheer you on.

Join the group before 1 August to hit the ground running!

I wanted to call it Hot August Writes, but managed to control myself…


Industry Insider Secrets

Of course, WWAT is not just about word counts. Each month, we get together on Zoom for two events. One is an Access Al Areas (Ask Me Anything) with me, and one is an Industry Insider event, with a special guest.

August will feature an AAA on 7th August, and the #Spark6000 challenge will take the place of the Industry Insider event (due to my CBCA Book Week commitments).


The line up for our Industry Insider events for the next three months looks like this:

September: Dani Vee (author, host of Words And Nerds podcast, acquiring editor for Larrikin House)

October: Rachael Johns (international bestselling author (romance, commercial fiction))

November: Dervla McTiernan (international bestselling author (crime fiction)

I could not be more excited to put these authors in the hot seat and extract all the insider knowledge and secrets that I can. Plus, you’ll be able to ask your own questions as well!

There’s never been a better time to join our intimate group. Membership details for Write With Allison Tait here.

A. L. Tait The First Summer of Callie McGeeAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries, as well as my brand-new middle-grade mystery THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE.

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

Angela Slatter on gates, recliners and writing

Angela Slatter on gates, recliners and writing

When award-winning author Angela Slatter pops in, you know you’re in for some straight-talking about writing. And so it was during the recent Industry Insider event in my Write With Allison Tait (WWAT) community, when we discussed everything from her writing process, to her start in ‘chick lit’ and the secrets of writing short stories.

As with all good Q&A sessions, everyone walked away with a lot of food for thought – including me.

Over the years, between this blog, the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast, the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast, guest interview spots on other podcasts, guest blog posts and articles on other sites, assorted panels, events and festivals, and, now, my WWAT community, I’ve interviewed a LOT of authors.

Hundreds. Perhaps thousands even.

So when I hear something new about the process of writing, even if it’s the articulation of something I know in a new and accessible way, I take notes.

Now, I’m sharing the notes from my interview with Angela with you. Two little snippets of writing advice I think are incredibly helpful. And the fact that gates and recliners are included makes them even better.



About Angela: Angela Slatter (also writing as A.G. Slatter) is the author of gothic fantasy novels All The Murmuring Bones and The Path of Thorns, as well as three supernatural crime novels, at least a dozen short story collections and several novellas.

She has won a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, a Ditmar, two Australian Shadows Awards and seven Aurealis Awards. All The Murmuring Bones was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards Book Of The Year in 2021. Angela has an MA and a PhD in creative writing, and is a highly respected teacher, editor and mentor in the writing space.



In a discussion about structure, pacing and the ‘engine’ of the story:

“Your turning points and your mid-point reversal all need to be places where decisions are made that can’t be gone back on,” says Angela. “The characters must go forward. If they can easily say ‘actually, you know what Gandalf, I don’t really want to go on an adventure, Hobbiton is still just back down the road, I’m going to get on this cart and go home while you deal with the dragon”… If you can do that easily, there’s no engine in the story.

“Moving forward in the story, particularly in a short story, I often feel it’s like closing gates. Closing gates for your character that they can’t go back through.”

In short: your character needs to have a strong motivation to keep going and you have to close the gates behind them so they can’t go back.



In a discussion about some of Angela’s most often-repeated advice for emerging writers:

“Let’s talk about setting, and specifically some advice from (author) Jack Danns, who talks about the camera,” says Angela.

“Whenever you start a scene, pretend it’s the camera in a film panning across the room or the town or the map or whatever. What are the important things your scene needs to show the reader to tell them about the setting? Put them in front of that camera.

“Is it a medieval castle? Is it a trailer somewhere in the US? What sort of furniture does it have? Is it an old La-Z-boy – or is it a new La-Z-boy? That choice will tell you things about the people in the story and their location.

“These are the things you need to give to your reader first off, so they know where they are.”

In short: big pictures are built on small details, and setting can show your reader a lot about your character.



Where do you begin when writing a short story?

“Crisis, choice, and consequence – that’s where your story starts,” says Angela.

In short… well, it doesn’t get much shorter than that.


Of course, this is just a taste of the full and wide-ranging discussion. To watch the replay of the full one-hour Zoom with Angela, or any of our recent WWAT Industry Insider events (including bestselling author Kate Forsyth, bestselling author Natasha Lester, literary agent Annabel Barker, non-fiction publisher (and author) Sophie Hamley, children’s author and former book publicist Ashleigh Barton and many more), join Write With Allison Tait here. 

Our next Industry Insider event (on Monday 15 May) will feature bestselling author and former director of Storyfest literary festival Meredith Jaffé.


Allison Tait how to be a children's authorAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, insights and more amazing writing advice.



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