AWC courses completed:
Writing for the Web and Mobile
Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1
Freelance Writing Masterclass Program
Creative Writing Stage 1
Make Time to Write
Even though Joy Adan dreamt of becoming a writer, she initially didn’t have the confidence to pursue this passion. “I had a recurring voice in my head – that sounded a lot like my mother – that kept telling me that the only people who could call themselves writers were either really lucky or really poor. That I should do the responsible thing – and set aside my creative ambitions in search for a secure, well-paying job.”
So Joy forged ahead with a successful corporate career – but that itch to write never went away. And, after several courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre, she is now living her dream … as a writer.
The turning point
“When my eldest son was about 18 months old, I was back at work full-time (in the same communications job) and hating the fact that I was spending so much time away from my family in a job that I didn’t find fulfilling,” says Joy. “My role had evolved and demanded long hours and involved more people politics than actual communication or writing. I knew it was time for a change, but I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
Joy enrolled in the course Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1. “I decided to enrol in the Magazine Writing course because I wanted to give freelance writing a shot,” says Joy. “I wanted to understand the process of getting published, step-by-step. It didn’t disappoint!”
“I wanted to learn from people who’d worked in the industry and I wanted to understand the steps that it took to come up with an idea, write a pitch, find a publication to get published in – and then submit it and get published! During the course, I got all of that feedback, all of that education and I remember the pitch that I workshopped as part of the course I submitted to Practical Parenting a few weeks afterwards and it got accepted and commissioned and that was my first commissioned piece.
“I was so pumped, I was so excited by that and I realised I could do it. It was great as part of the course to get feedback straight away and to learn from what others had submitted as well.”
The best of both worlds
Since then, Joy has gone from strength to strength, forging ahead with a successful freelance writing career, combined with a part-time writing job. “I landed a great content marketing gig shortly after doing the course at the AWC, and start a new role as a staff writer/content journalist for a global company in 2018.
“I also dedicate the equivalent of one to two working days to my freelance projects, which includes a mix of content marketing, ghostwriting and consulting for small businesses. My writing has appeared in Kochie’s Business Builders, SmartCompany.com.au, Business First Magazine, HR Daily and a bunch of other websites (but often under someone else’s byline!), a bit of feature writing (Essential Baby and Practical Parenting), and a regular column in The Catholic Weekly.”
Ongoing mentoring and support from AWC
Joy is also a member of the Freelance Writing Masterclass Program, a membership program that offers ongoing support to graduates with regular tutorials, feedback and mentoring.
“One of the biggest benefits of having signed up for the Freelance Writing Masterclass Program is having consistent access to so many other writers and to Valerie, who’s had a wealth of experience being published not just in magazines but a lot of custom publications and the online environment as well.
“There’s no shortage of information. During the ‘ask me anything sessions’ I get to submit my own questions, I learn from all the other people who are submitting their questions as well.
“I’ve really learned, step-by-step, the things that I need to get in place, the fact that I need to value my time and charge well for my time, to have an idea of the publications or the platforms that I want to get published in, and to really back myself. And to believe in myself.
“I think that all comes down to having this amazing community filled with students from the Australian Writers’ Centre and Val’s amazing generosity. Had it not been for that I definitely wouldn’t be where I am as a writer today.”
What might have been
Joy says that AWC has played an integral part in her writing journey. “If you had told me five years ago that I would be making a living as a writer now, I wouldn’t have believed you. But the education and inspiration I continue to receive from the AWC tutors and graduates is absolutely priceless and have played an enormous part in overcoming my doubts – and succeeding.
“Each course I have attended has provided practical advice that works, and has proved excellent value for the time and money, which is why I keep going back! I’ve learnt how easy it is to get the writing done when I get out of my own head. I revisit the course information whenever I need to, and I have a swarm of writers from all over the world who are part of the AWC community that I can lean on whenever I have a question or the doubt sets in again.