When I moved to Tasmania from the UK just over four years ago, I had plenty of experience as a writer, but zero experience as a writer in Australia.
One of the brilliant things about being a freelance writer is the flexibility – I can switch on my computer anywhere in the world and submit my work to an editor in the same town or an editor on a different continent. It really doesn’t matter.
But I do think that when you’re working to establish yourself in a new place it’s important to get a sense for the publishing landscape – the accepted etiquette of pitching and writing, the existing relationships in and across the media, the range of pay rates, and any unfamiliar jargon.
With that in mind, I’ve collated a list of sites and resources that have helped me over the last few years. Some of these will be helpful if you’re completely new to writing, others if you’re new to writing in Australia.
1. Writers Bloc
Writers Bloc is a beautiful thing indeed. (I’m not just saying that because they were one of the first places in Australia to publish me, honest!). As well as Write Here, a monthly meet up of writers that takes place in towns and cities around the country, they offer online workshops, a great blog filled with posts by guest writers, and a regularly updated roundup of publishing opportunities that is beyond comprehensive. If you’re looking for inspiration, this is a great place to start.
AWC is Australia’s leading centre for writing courses and they deliver them both on and offline. I enrolled in the online Magazine and Newspaper Writing course shortly after we moved here, and even as an experienced writer I found it hugely valuable – the teaching, feedback and sense of community was excellent, and I’ve secured several work opportunities as a result of contacts I made through the course. More recently I completed an online copywriting course with AWC to refresh my skills before I returned to freelance life, and it provided a valuable reminder that regardless of how long you’ve been writing for, there is always more to learn.
Recently revamped, Rachel’s List is one of the better sites for finding part time or freelance work in communications and media. If you sign up for membership you can access the jobs board, set up a profile on the site, and join the closed Facebook group community. The annual admin fee is very reasonable, but if you’re not sure that you’re ready to commit then why not follow the Rachel’s List blog for a few weeks to get a sense of whether the site and its services might be a good fit for you.
In the world of Australian copywriting, Kate Toon is one of the names you’ll hear again and again, and with good reason. Not only is Kate a hugely successful copywriter in her own right, she also runs The Clever Copywriting School which helps aspiring copywriters establish their own businesses. There are a number of paid courses with the school that you can sign up for, but it’s also worth checking out Kate’s blog, which is packed with helpful hints and tips for writers at all stages of their career. Definitely one to save to your bookmarks bar!
If you’re under the age of 40, the YAW Facebook Group, run by writer Catherine Bouris, is a hugely valuable source of information and support. I’m so grateful that I’m still young enough for this one – the cutoff for many ‘young’ or ’emerging’ writers opportunities is often 30 – so I’m taking full advantage of the group while I still can. It’s a place where writers can ask questions, share links to their latest work, discuss current trends in the world of writing, crowdsource information, and occasionally hear about employment or freelance opportunities. When you work from home it’s really important to join supportive communities, and this is one of the best ones out there.
So those are my top 5 recommendations. If you’re a new writer, or a writer who has recently arrived in Australia, it might be worth checking them out. I’d also love to hear your own suggestions, so please feel free to leave me a comment below!