How part-time lawyer Libby Hakim carved out a successful career as a freelance writer

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Libby Hakim had a simple goal: to see her byline in a magazine or newspaper. After completing a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre, she not only achieved that – she’s now been published in many top publications.

Working as a part-time lawyer, Libby first completed a five-week online course in Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1. That changed the course of Libby’s life. “Before I started the course I actually had the goal of getting published, I wanted to see my byline in a magazine or a newspaper,” says Libby, who was working part-time as a lawyer.

An action-packed course
Though the course was only a two to three hours week, and she says learnt an incredible amount. “I learnt so many things – it was action packed, it was information packed. I learnt how to analyse a publication, to really understand the audience that the publication is speaking to and to be able to craft stories to suit the particular magazine or newspaper.”

Since then, Libby has been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, My Career, Body+Soul, MiNDFOOD, Jetstar, Practical Parenting and many more. Libby says the course taught her practical skills she could use immediately. “I also learnt how feature stories are structured. They may appear quite simple but there’s quite an art to it … And, of course, I learnt how to approach editors; how to get an editor to say: ‘Yes, I want you to write this story for me.’”

Exceeding Libby’s expectations
She says that the course exceeded her expectations. “The particular attention from the tutors and the feedback, that went beyond my expectations. It was really useful to get that individual feedback during the course.”

Libby says she will never forget the day she achieved her goal. “The first time I saw my byline in print I rushed down to my local newsagent the very day the new issue of Practical Parenting was out. I flipped through the pages and I couldn’t believe that was my name there.

“It was just wonderful … amazing.”

A new career as a freelance writer
However, Libby didn’t stop at that first article. She successfully pitched other article ideas to editors and has grown her writing portfolio. Keen to hone her craft, Libby completed Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 2, also online, and has now successfully carved out a career as a freelance writer.

“The best thing about being a freelance writer is just being able to write,” she says. “I love researching topic that I’m interested in, I love talking to people … and then I love the process of writing, I just get lost in the writing and time just disappears. It’s just something I really enjoy.

“I would say to anyone thinking about doing the course just do it. If you’re excited by the idea, you won’t regret it at all.”


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