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5 Tips for Writing A Series with Charlotte Barkla

On 25th May Write Links members had the opportunity to attend an insightful professional development session with author Charlotte Barkla. Always a highlight of Write Links meetings, professional development sessions offer valuable insights from industry professionals into a multitude of areas across writing and publishing. The calibre of these presentations is high and Charlotte did not disappoint.


Author of children’s picture books and middle grade series, the topic for Charlotte’s presentation was ‘5 Things I’ve Learned About Writing Series’. Here is a brief summary of what I took from her presentation, with Charlotte’s own headings:


  1. Persistence is key

There are many pathways to being published, and rejections and disappointment are part of the process. Don’t let these disappointments stop you. Giving up guarantees you won’t be published. Keep going. Publication is only possible if you keep putting your work out there.


  1. Enjoyment is critical

The hedonic treadmill undermines joy. Avoid the cycle of seeking external validation for your work by finding and focusing on the joy of writing. Not only will you feel more satisfaction, if you enjoy the writing this will shine through in your work. Intrinsically related to this, is recognising and revelling in all the other joys in your life as these will sustain you through low or difficult times.


  1. Expect the unexpected and remember your circle of control

The unexpected can and will happen. Minimise the fallout by understanding what you can’t do, or is outside your circle of control, and focusing on what you CAN do.


  1. 6Ps: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Plan! From pitch to publication, plan what you will write and how and when you will write it. This is particularly important for a series as publishers need to see what direction the narrative will take. Planning writing days also helps maximise productivity.


  1. Beware of the research rabbit hole

Research is a happy place for many people – a place that can easily make you forget to start writing! To help avoid falling into this rabbit hole, research as you go rather than doing a whole bunch upfront.


All great tips for writing, many also great tips for life!

Following the ‘formal’ part of the presentation, Charlotte kindly opened the floor for questions. This Q&A was another valuable opportunity for learning as Charlotte was both generous and articulate in her answers to the many questions posed by Write Linkers. These included sharing her program preferences for creating her work (Microsoft Excel for planning, Word for writing), her perspective on the pros and cons of having an agent or going it solo (she’s done both and is currently not agented), and her tips for support throughout the submission process and managing contracts (the Australian Society of Authors is a great resource), among many more.

There was a lot to take away from this session with Charlotte, however the tip that resonated most for me was the reminder to always look for and focus on the joy. Because really, without joy, what’s the point?


Much gratitude to Charlotte for sharing her time and insights with us, and many thanks to the Write Links team for organising another fantastic professional development session.


Blog post by Melissa Elk

Follow Melissa Elk on Instagram at melissaelkwriter

Photo credit: Melissa Elk and Rebecca Sheraton

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