Last year when my husband took over running my business and sent me home to rest up and get my health back on track, I found myself at a bit of a loose end. There is after all, only so much reading on the couch that this little black duck can do.
So I signed up for the online version of the Sydney Writers’ Centre Magazine and Newspaper Writing course. I had rediscovered a love of writing when I started blogging and liked the idea of getting paid to write. A year and a bit on I can safely say that doing that course was life-changing.
The Sydney Writers’ Centre (SWC) was founded in 2005 by Valerie Khoo. She started her professional life as an auditor but quickly came to realise that writing was her true passion. Valerie made the decision to change careers and then had to navigate her own path towards finding a job as a writer. Valerie wanted to help all those people like her who were looking to make a career change and help fast-track them down that writing path. In short, she created the organisation and the course she wished was available back when she wanted to make her career change!
And boy am I glad she did. It was such a privilege to do the Magazine and Newspaper Writing course because that meant I was learning direct from Valerie herself. I was always amazed to get to the end of each week’s lesson and find that I had absolutely no questions because Valerie had covered everything. It was VERY comprehensive.
Upon finishing the course I gained access to the SWC closed facebook group and if I thought the course itself was hugely valuable, well then I have no words to describe the worth of the facebook group. Here was a group of fellow writers all willing to share their knowledge and advice with each other. For the most part everyone in there is fairly new to writing for magazines and other online publications yet it never ceases to amaze me how generous everyone is with their contacts and little bits of inside knowledge (yes editors, be scared – you are often the topic of discussion
And I have not only gained advice from this group, I have gained new friends – people who I can talk to about writing without their eyes glazing over. People who I can share the little wins with and who ‘get’ those little wins
How else did this course change my life? Well it gave me the confidence to call myself a writer. It gave me the confidence to pitch articles to various publications. It helped me get published online at Mamamia (I’m there today talking about Lance Armstrong actually!) and The Hoopla and offline at The Canberra Times and in Marie Claire. It helped me get paid work writing at Kidspot. It gave me the confidence to write my book.
But most of all, it has made me happy. I love writing and for a long time it has taken a big back seat in my life. Doing the SWC course has brought it front and centre again and now I am feeling that wonderful buzz that writers get from writing every single day. Possibly only other writers will understand that buzz … but for my exercising friends, it is just like that post-run endorphin hit. Pretty neat hey?!
For those who are interested, Chapter 2 of my book went out to subscribers today. My book is completely free … you just need to be on this list