I have always enjoyed writing and whenever I travel, I write about it for a select group of friends. They have been telling me for years that I should write professionally. I once worked for a newspaper in Dubai, but as a Marketing Director, not as a journalist. I did write the occasional travel feature for the paper for my own enjoyment.
With little idea of what to do once I finish my contract as a marketing advisor in Vietnam, which still involves writing, but press releases and marketing collateral, I decided to enrol in the Professional Freelance Journalism Course with the Morris Journalism Academy. My aim was to improve my writing technique and learn more about finding opportunities to write. I figured the skills I learnt would also help with getting my press releases into print.
This online journalism course was packed full of the practical information I was looking for and while it’s tailored to the Australian media scene, the information is equally valid for international media. One of the huge benefits for me was the flexibility of the course. This meant I could squeeze it in around my work commitments.
It contained not only the technical aspects of writing that I wanted to improve on, but also the ins and outs of how to get published, which is what initially interested me. There’s no point writing for the public if you don’t know how to get an editor interested first.
The personal feedback I received from my tutor on how I could improve my writing and also important tips to take into account along the way, was invaluable. This has given me the confidence to get out there and start building a portfolio.
See your name in print.
My first commissioned article was surprisingly not a travel piece. It was feature on Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I had the good fortune to meet one of the few survivors of the former prison and it progressed from there. There is no way I would have tackled a subject like this before this online journalism course.
I have already submitted another article for the same magazine – this time a fun comparison of the traffic laws in Ho Chi Minh City with the people’s driving methods. They have also accepted a travel piece for the issue after that. I am pitching a few other magazines and newspapers also and getting some encouraging responses.
My plan is to write whenever I can while I finish my current contract and during this time I will develop relationships with international media and actively seek work as a freelance journalist. It’s the Professional Freelance Journalism Course that has given me the toolbox to work with to make this possible.
Time to send another pitch!