Writing to reach you

In 2019 I signed up for an online course offered by the Australian Writers’ Centre to learn about freelance writing for newspapers and magazines. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I was keen to discover the secret ingredient to getting an article published in Australian media. How to turn this hobby into something other people (apart from all you lovely, supportive family and friends) would read.

I loved the course so much. My inner geek surfaced and I found myself diligently completing the assignments each week and eagerly awaiting feedback from my tutor.

When the course ended, I rolled up my proverbial sleeves and pitched my story ideas to editors of magazines and online news publications.

It wasn’t exactly crickets, but my pitches didn’t quite hit the mark.

Rejection isn’t fun. I questioned my ability and started telling myself that I wasn’t cut out for freelance writing. I put the dream aside and focused on my comfort zone – sending my fiction, non-fiction and poetry to various competitions. But there was a voice in my head that wouldn’t go away, reminding me that I had a goal I still wanted to reach, elusive as it may seem.

Then 2020 gave me another chance. I had time to read and analyse the publications I loved, and identify the ones that suited my writing style. I had time to really think about the stories I wanted to tell, and time to craft pitches that showed those stories in the best light. I also had time to review the AWC course material and reignite the freelance flame it had sparked back in 2019.

The result? Not an avalanche of commissions that meant I could give up my day job, but enough to keep the dream alive, and the fire burning.

Here are the articles that made it this year:

Eureka Street – On Techno Gran and the virtual Show & Tell: https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/national–virtual–grandparent-s-day#

SBS Food – On Batik Cake memories: https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2020/10/02/batik-cake-transports-me-my-malaysian-childhood

SBS Voices – On a different kind of village: https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2020/10/15/it-took-village-raise-me-i-dont-have-one-my-kids

Eureka Street – On fairness and ‘skin-coloured’ crayons: https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article/fair-enough

So the journey continues. I’ll keep trying, knowing now that the disappointment of rejection is small fry compared to the thrill of a single yes. I also realise there was no secret ingredient. All I needed to do was take the time, and take a chance.

Thank you for reading. ♥

©2020 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

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