Sue White, is now one of Australia's busiest feature and travel writers. She has an enviable portfolio that includes the country’s most respected publications including The Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, Vogue Australia, Travel + Leisure (Australia), Sun Herald Travel and Women’s Health, to name just a few.
Sue had flirted with the idea of being a freelance writer since she first wrote the school column for her local newspaper on a typewriter. She turned down a cadetship following her high school graduation to spend the decade travelling.
Although she did managed to pop back to Australia long enough to squeeze in a university degree and work for a range of NGOs, government bodies and health researchers, before throwing it all in to train yoga teachers.
But Sue's call to write persevered. “I eventually realised that freelance writing might give me the mix of creativity, freedom and brain food that I'd struggled to find in the nine-to-five world.”
As Sue prepared to focus her career on freelance writing, she decided she needed to do a practical course to brush up her skills, and ensure she was up-to-date with the latest industry standards and procedures. “After I met the Australian Writers’ Centre founder Valerie Khoo, I was inspired by her energy and experience. I thought: ‘This is the place for me’,” she says.
Finding the right guidance
Sue chose to study the course Australian Writers' Centre Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 course because she was attracted to its practical, no-nonsense focus. “Not only was the structure watertight and utterly practical but all my additional questions were answered honestly and upfront,” says Sue. “It gave me the momentum and the tools to dive straight back into writing. But this time, to take it to another level.”
That was nearly five years ago. Her experience and focus as a writer paid off, and Sue has since made a name for herself as a successful freelance feature and travel writer.
Carving out a career
Sue is now one of Australia’s busiest feature and travel writers. She has covered stories from Belize for Vogue Entertaining and Travel on the origin of Fair Trade chocolate to an unforgettable trip by boat along the shores of the Kimberley Desert for CNN Traveller.
Sue describes the impact pursuing her writing dreams has had on her life. “Now, instead of teaching yoga retreats, I get paid to go and write about them, I have access to some of Australia's most interesting sustainability leaders and business people through interviews and I get to travel whenever I choose, in the name of work,” says Sue. “My new career gives me more than simply the freedom to work from home, it allows me to (mostly) write on subjects I'm interested in – I've carved out a career writing on travel, environment, well being and career.”
With this wealth of experience under her belt, Sue has come full circle. She is now an Australian Writers' Centre Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 and Travel Writing course presenter. She knows exactly what new writers need to do to make it in the industry. “The courses are so practical in nature,” says Sue. “They're also short and shiny – you can dip into something that interests you, soak up all the information you need to get started, and then decide if it's right for you.”
Sue says she loves sharing her knowledge while teaching at the Centre. “Joining the Australian Writers' Centre team in 2010 was fantastic. It's been a lovely way to be able to give something to new writers, in an effort to make their own journey as positive a path as mine has been,” says Sue. “It's also a fabulous balance between working from home, where I only get to talk to the plants!”