As a blogger, Michaela Fox was already loving being able to write while at home, but it was almost too comfortable. The idea of working as a freelance writer and earning a living really appealed.
“Being able to freelance from home is just the ideal situation for me,” she says. “I get to still be at home with my kids, which is really important for me. I want to be involved in their lives – they’re only young.”
And it was the discovery of the five-week Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 course through the Australian Writers’ Centre that really got the cogs turning.
The learning curve
Do you know that warm fuzzy feeling when you know you’ve made the right decision? For Michaela, being on the course, she knew that she was where she needed to be. In fact, she quite literally couldn’t wait to get started with her new skills.
“I was really excited during the course, and impatient,” she recalls. “So I started pitching to editors before I’d finished the course!” To her delight, Michaela’s first pitch was successful, allowing her to work on it “live” as part of her course homework/assignment across the five week course duration. “Because of that win, it gave me the confidence to know that I could do this.”
The course also taught Michaela how to approach editors. “That was something I didn’t have any idea about how to go about doing,” she says. “So that was important to me to know exactly what was expected in the pitching process.”
But it wasn’t just industry knowledge and advice that she gained. By completing the course with other writers, she had immediate access to a new community also sharing a similar journey.
“I think when you’re pursuing a creative passion like writing, you really need to find your tribe, and it gave me access to people like me who are writing and trying to do it as a career. It’s been really inspiring to see what other people are doing.”
The freelance life
It’s all about momentum – and considering Michaela’s swift start, it’s no surprise that she has now written for titles that include Australian House & Garden, Practical Parenting, Sunday Life, Essential Kids, Essential Baby, news.com.au, Huffington Post, Melbourne’s Child, Mother & Baby magazine, plus many other online sites. And it really hasn’t taken long.
“Two years ago I did not think I’d be in the position I am now,” says Michaela. “I was hoping to get an article published. The fact that I got paid for it the first time was amazing. And now have probably over 60 paid articles… I don’t think I could have done it without the knowledge that the course gave me.”
It’s “pinch-yourself” territory for the mother of three. “I’m working now, and being paid to write, and it’s a wonderful feeling… And it’s just so inspiring to see what other writers are doing and the successes they’ve had since doing the course. I think that really motivates me to keep going.
“I have reconnected with a passion and it has given my life a new purpose and sense of fulfilment. I love interviewing people for stories – it’s such a privilege to hear their experiences and I love the human connection. I also love getting paid to do something I love! The flexibility of being able to work from home is also a major advantage of freelancing.”
What does the Fox say?
Michaela has some very clear-cut advice for anyone who may be in the same boat that she was in not so long ago:
“I think anyone considering this course shouldn’t consider it for long,” she says. “They should just enrol. It has been the best thing I have done in my life in the last few years.”
And she takes it one step further. “Life’s too short not to be doing something you love. You need to put your fears aside. And feel confident that you can actually make your dreams come true.”