My title 

10 ways to complete your writing goals. By Claire Scobie

by: Jennifer Richardson on

1. Put together a plan on what you still want to achieve. Doesn’t matter if it’s handwritten or a spreadsheet, a mindmap or a bunch of sticky post-its. Goals are much more achievable if they’re written down.

2. Prioritise. Realistically you probably aren’t going to complete the final draft of your novel, write the synopsis AND get a publishing deal before the clock strikes midnight on December 31. But there’s time to add another 15,000 words to your manuscript if you aim to write 1,500 words a week for the next 10 weeks (c'mon that’s do-able).

3. Make a date to meet up with your writing buddy or writing group. Do this now before everyone’s diaries get filled up. Ensure that you give each other a task. Then celebrate afterwards and schedule your next meet-up in the new year.

4. Spring clean your desk. Honestly, clearing your physical space helps remove psychic clutter. Take 2 hours to sift through your stack of papers, chuck out obsolete drafts & make space for the new. Wipe down your desk, pick some flowers, make it a pleasant place to sit.

5. Go through all the work you have done this year. You’ve probably forgotten that short story you wrote on the train to work. Compile it – either in print-outs or digitally – and feel good about what you’ve already achieved. See where the gaps are and what you want to plug before the end of 2014.

6. Block out a writing day (half-a-day if that’s all you have) between now and Christmas. Diarise this. Make it yours. Give yourself one thing to complete and when you’ve done that, send it to a writing buddy you trust.

7. Book yourself in for a writing workshop. This is especially for those of you who made it a 2014 New Year Resolution and haven’t yet signed up. Join us in Italy for 'Writing in a Palace'. It’s amazing how in the presence of others (and a great teacher!) you can re-focus on your writing.

8. Start reading that book you keep promising yourself you’ll read… and never do. Start tonight. I find that reading is a great way to re-invigorate my writing.

9. And lastly… Map out your writing strategy for the last quarter AND for the next quarter. It’s important to end the year on a high so you start 2015 with a bang.

10. Contact us to tell us how you going with your writing and what support you need.


If you’re taking a break over Christmas, make sure you end your current writing project at a suitable juncture – and before you finish up, write a list of what you’re going to do next. That way, when you come back after your holiday, you have an instant starting point & waste less time.
Let us know how you go!

Claire Scobie - Writing between Jobs

by: Jennifer Richardson on

I was talking to a friend recently who was struggling to find time to write a book whilst holding down a job and a busy life, then that same day I stumbled across this old post by Claire Scobie written in 2011 on the same subject. I love it when that happens! 

I think this article is just a relevant today as it was back in 2011 so I decided to share it with you today. I hope you find it helpful.  

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Writing between Jobs by Claire Scobie

A question often raised in my workshops is how to find time to write when you already have a full-time job. As writing is such an insular profession, I always enjoy hearing how other writers do it. Last week I went to some inspiring sessions at Sydney Writers' Festival. The weather was balmy, the queues were long—and good-humoured—and writers from around the globe shared their tips to packed audiences.

In one session entitled Au Pairs, two writing couples—James Bradley and Mardi McConnochie, and Mandy Sayer and Louis Nowra—discussed how they live (or not) with each other and their work. James and Mardi juggle their writing careers with two young children under five; Mandy and Louis live 100 metres apart and spend their days feverishly writing apart, and their evenings at the local Fitzroy Hotel in King’s Cross.

But it was when Mardie discussed her latest novel, The Voyagers, that I was intrigued. Mardie has worked as a playwright, written a clutch of novels and works three days a week writing advertising copy. I’m paraphrasing here, but she said that once she’d conceptualised and planned out her latest novel (and she’s a self-described ‘great planner), she then wrote it one day a week, with a sprint of several weeks at the end to finish it, and it took four years.

I’ve heard another writer say that he cut his working week down to four days and took every Wednesday off to write. He preferred taking a day off mid-week, so his colleagues didn’t think he was just taking a long weekend. Another writer friend carves out blocks of time (2 or 3 hours) to write her book in cafes and juggles that with a part-time legal job.

Of course, if you’re an early riser you can do what Bryce Courtenay did, and get up at 5 am and write for three hours before going to work. Or if you burn the midnight candle, like Téa Obreht, whose novel The Tiger’s Wife was named on the New Yorker’s list of Top 20 Writers under 40, you can write all night. During one chilly New York spring, 25-year-old Obreht would start at 9 pm and write til 6 am.

Whatever your bio-rhythms, it you only have small parcels of time to write, it helps to break down your project. Set yourself tasks (for 20 minutes or one-hour) and stick to them.

These days it is such a luxury to be able to write full time. But it’s heartening to know that you can do it in between everything else. Sure, it takes longer, but if you have a book at the end, it’s worth the effort.

So how about you, when do you fit it in?