Meet SOLGM member Debra Bradley of Writing for Councils  

Tell us about Writing for Councils

Writing for Councils is me and my computer in a home office in Nelson. I act as a ‘writer and editor at large’ for councils which have an overflow of documents to complete within tight deadlines.

What does a typical day look like?

I always start my day with three pages of free writing about just anything. This is where my best ideas occur alongside a fair bit of dross, as well as any changes to my plan for the day. This warm up process enables me to write and edit easily when working on other people’s documents.

Mornings are my best time for thinking clearly, and for writing well, so I tend to guard my time pretty fiercely until about 2pm. Wherever possible I schedule meetings and admin tasks for later in the afternoon. And towards the end of the day our dog puts pressure on me to head off for a walk on the beach, which is a great way to refresh for the next day.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

It has taken me quite a long time to learn when to be a good manager of myself. That means saying no to new work opportunities when I already have a full schedule, or when I had planned to have a holiday. I have become much better at this in 2020. I now maintain a list of people to refer work on to, and have learnt to trust that the right work will turn up to fill any future gaps in my work flow.

What’s the best part of what you do?

I love having the freedom to be really clear about what I do best (writing and editing in solitude, in a quiet home office) in partnership with clients who have complementary knowledge and expertise. We achieve more than either of us could do individually when we make the most of our natural talents and experience.

Why did you join SOLGM and what do you hope to get out of it?

When working solo rather than within a council environment, there is potential to be out of the loop of new developments occurring at central government level or in the local government sector, and to miss out on relevant upskilling opportunities. I love to learn and am looking forward to making the most of the regular updates and the training offered by SOLGM.