There’s something you’re itching to write: something which will change your year and which might just change your life.
Maybe it’s a book, ebook, blog post series, memoir, or short story collection.
Whatever it is, you’d love to get it written. But either you’re struggling to find the time and energy to make a start, or you’ve stalled part-way.
This seven-week course, plus accompanying ebook, will get you started (or restarted) on a big writing project – and give you all the tools you need to finish it.
It’s designed for any writer with a project on the go, including novelists, bloggers, and non-fiction authors.
Best of all, it’s completely free.
(This is a course that I used to sell for $49/person, so you’re getting some of my very best material!)
To join, just enter your name and email address below:
On Track was exactly what I needed when I needed it. Ali covers everything you need to get your larger project done -from setting aside time for writing to organizing your project. I’ve saved all the lesson PDF’s and frequently refer back to them!
(Leslie A Joy)
Note: Leslie took an earlier version of On Track, which was supplied in PDF form.
How On Track Works
All the On Track lessons are accessed through a private members-only website, using your email address and a password.
As soon as you sign up for On Track, you’ll get an introduction to the course, and the course ebook (more on that in a moment). The introduction explains what to expect, how to login, and so on.
Once a week (on the day that you joined), you’ll receive an email with a link to that week’s lesson and a brief summary of what you’ll learn. You can go back to previous lessons at any time.
Here’s what those lessons include:
Lesson 1: Making a Great Start
- An introduction to the course, so you’re confident about what’s coming up week by week
- Four ways to get past the first hurdle of getting started – so that you can get going with your project straight away
- A quick, simple (but important) assignment to get you writing – this only takes fifteen minutes
Lesson 2: Setting Milestones That Work
- Step-by-step guidance on how to split your work-in-progress into sensible milestones that’ll keep you motivated
- Specific advice on what to do if your project doesn’t seem to fit (for instance, if you’re writing a blog that has no specific end point)
- The reason why (self-imposed) deadlines matter – and how to set sane ones
Lesson 3: Your Perfect Writing Routine
- How to find your best time of day to write – this alone can double or triple how much you write in an hour
- The difference between setting time targets and word targets – there’s no one “right” way
- The advantages of short writing sessions – and of long ones. Again, this is all about finding the right pace for you
Lesson 4: Planning for Success
- Specific advice on planning different types of project – novels, blogs and ebooks – so you don’t waste time scratching your head or running off on a tangent
- Different ways to plan (like mind-mapping and using index cards) so that you can figure out what you find easiest
- How to plan if you’re already part-way through your project
Lesson 5: Getting from First Draft to Final Piece
- The difference between first drafts and final drafts, so that you don’t get bogged down trying to achieve perfection on day one
- How to avoid distractions (like doing too much research, or trying to edit too soon)
- Step by step advice for each stage of the drafting process
Lesson 6: Sharing Your Love of Writing
- Four places to find writing support – including a couple of easy ones for when you don’t have much time or energy
- Tips on sharing your work with a friend or a group – I know how daunting this can be, but also how rewarding it is, and how much it can help you grow
- How to critique other writers’ work: if you’re asking for feedback from fellow writers, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up returning the favour
Lesson 7: All the Resources You Need
- Why you have more resources than you think – a fresh look at your own skills and experiences
- The four crucial qualities every writer needs, with key tips on how to build them
- The three big external resources that matter, and how to gather and create these
I’ve been a journalist for the past 15 years and while I’m quite disciplined when it comes to my work, I tend to procrastinate with regards to my personal writing projects. Joining the On Track Writing Course has kept me, well, on track! It has provided an easy writing structure that I can follow and made me more accountable. In fact, after I finished the two-month course, I managed to finish two pillar posts for my travel blog and the second draft for my thesis proposal.
I also find it refreshing as a blogger that there’s an online course out there that allowed me to recapture my long lost writing voice.
(Prime Sarmiento, Solo Female Travel)
Course Book: Seven Pillars of Great Writing
As soon as you sign up for On Track, you’ll receive Seven Pillars of Great Writing. This course book is designed to be dipped in and out of whenever you want to brush up your writing skills, with chapters covering:
Chapter 1: Structure
- Why structure matters for you and the reader, and how to get the beginning, middle and end right
- How to create great outlines which make writing easier
Chapter 2: Flow
- Using transitions so that you keep the reader’s attention – section to section and paragraph to paragraph
- How to pick up the pace, and how to slow it down (and knowing when to do which!)
Chapter 3: Clarity
- Making sure that you have clarity on several levels: ideas, sentences and argument
- Specific examples of unclear sentences and words, so you can see what to watch out for
Chapter 4: Tone
- Why tone matters – and how to vary your tone for effect
- Loads of specific tips about how to write conversationally – a really important skill for many forms of writing
Chapter 5: Grammar
- Basic grammar explained, with plenty of further resources to help you improve
- Grammar myths busted – so that you can stop fretting about ancient “rules” which don’t matter
Chapter 6: Economy
- How to make your writing more powerful and engaging – so you’ll get and keep readers
- A list of sneaky words to watch out for – learn to cut these ruthlessly
Chapter 7: Heart
- Why writing from the heart is so important – and what that actually means
- How to add “heart” to your writing, even if you’re not really into the topic
Each chapter gives you real-life examples so you can see how other writers put these seven pillars into practice.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably interested in the course but unsure whether it’s right for you.
Will I Have Enough Time?
I know you’re pressed for time already. There’s no fluff here, and the lessons focus on practical, straightforward tips that you can put into practice straight away. Throughout the course, we look at ways to find more time and how to use your time effectively.
Each lesson should take you no more than fifteen minutes to read. The assignments are optional (though highly recommended!) and it’s up to you how long you want to spend on them.
Is This For Me?
Almost certainly! It’s for anyone who wants to work on a biggish writing project. That might be fiction or non-fiction. It might be online (a blog) or offline (a book). It might be one single “thing” (a novel) or a project with multiple parts (a series of articles).
Even if you haven’t got a big project on the go right now, On Track will give you the tools you need for the future … and you might even feel inspired to start something during the course.
If you’re not sure … give it a try! It’s totally free, so you’ve got nothing to lose.
What if I Fall Behind?
Sometimes, life gets busy. And I don’t want you waiting for the “perfect moment” to begin On Track, because chances are, it will never arrive.
So don’t worry about getting left behind. If you don’t have time to read a lesson or do the assignment one week, just skip it. You can go back to previous lessons at any time, and each lesson starts with a brief recap of the previous one so you don’t get lost.
Why is On Track free?
I used to charge $49/person for On Track, which included some group email support during the course. With a toddler and another baby on the way, I no longer have time to do this (though I loved running On Track). I decided, rather than leave the course gathering dust, I’d make it available completely free for writers to work through on an individual basis whenever they choose.
If you enjoy On Track, you may want to upgrade to full membership of my Writers’ Huddle site, but there’s no pressure whatsoever to do that. (On Track has been available for my Writers’ Huddle members for the past couple of years, along with other courses I’ve developed.)