When Lisa Schofield worked in the banking industry, she never imagined that she would one day become a freelance journalist and corporate writer. But she’s now been successfully published in countless magazines and newspapers – and is in demand as a writer contracting to the corporate world she was once a part of.
This transition began when she completed a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. “Before I did the course, I would never have imagined myself being in this situation,” she says. “I wouldn’t have known how to have got to where I am now. I’ve gone up a level of professionalism in my writing and that would not have been possible without doing the course.”
Lisa says that the practical nature of the course – Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 – meant she was able to acquire and hone the skills she needed. “What I learnt from the course was all the elements I needed to be able to write,” she says. “I didn’t actually know how to write – or how to start. I didn’t know the technical aspects of writing and I felt like I needed to go somewhere with some experts who knew how to do it and to train myself up – just like you’d train yourself in any job. I knew I had the passion, I knew I had the ability – but I didn’t know how to do it.”
The course – which runs for five weeks (a two-hour class each week) or intensively over a weekend – was packed with information. And Lisa soaked it up and put it straight into practice. “I focused on pitching to magazines I was interested in, about subjects that I love. and I had some early wins with Women’s Running Magazine. I also wrote for Run for Your Life magazine … I was interested in running at the time. I started writing for Health and Wellness magazine, Prevention, Shape, and Women’s Health.”
After starting out writing about health and wellness, Lisa then decided to branch out to other areas. “I really enjoyed writing for those magazines and then I started to diversify a little bit and get a little bit more structured in who I was going to write for. I didn’t want to write only health and wellness. I’m interested in ‘slice of life’ and human interest so I’ve written for Sunday Life and Good Weekend.
“I also enjoy going back to my business roots and my banking roots, so I’ve been writing for Marketing Magazine. I love travel writing and I love travel, so I’ve been writing for International Traveller and Jetstar magazine.”
Since then, Lisa has diversified her portfolio even further. She’s now moved into the lucrative world of corporate writing. “I do corporate writing and I have corporate clients that I write for. I learnt the skills through the course that have been able to be applied not only to feature writing, but also to other types of writing as well. And I’ve really enjoyed exploring what else I can do with my writing skills.”
Working as a feature writer means that Lisa is continually able to satisfy her curiosity about topics – and people – she’s interested in. “The kinds of stories I enjoy writing are very personal, human interest,” she says. “I enjoy writing profiles on people. Everyone’s got a story – and I love hearing peoples stories. That’s really been my most satisfying writing, just sitting and listening to people and writing their story. I’ve written stories about breast cancer survivors, about mental health illnesses. I’ve written stories about paratriathletes. I’ve written a range of things and if I feel a connection with a story then I know the readers will as well.”
Like many graduates, Lisa believes that the course was only the beginning. Being part of the wider Australian Writers’ Centre community has also been invaluable. “I feel that one of the other benefits I’ve gotten out of doing the Australian Writers’ Centre course is that I’ve met other writers and I have become part of a community, And that community is very strong,” she says. “It’s very precious to us, we all look after each other and nurture each other and we give each other confidence to take risks and do braver things. I feel like I work alone in my office but I feel like I’m not alone because I have many many online friends – and real friends – that I’ve met through the Australian Writers’ Centre course.”
Ultimately, Lisa is now in the enviable position of living the life she’s always wanted and forging a career she’s always dreamt of. “I am a full time writer and I do make a full time income,” she says. “I’m living the dream”