I can’t remember much about the first time I travelled overseas on my own, except for this one moment: filling out the boarding card with my occupation as writer. A tiny moment. The pen ink was blue. I can still remember the feeling of that one little word and the way I hugged it to myself in my seat on the plane.
That was 1990, if memory serves.
I’ve since made writing the core of my professional life, and I’ve also written fiction and non-fiction outside that professional sphere. A novel and a few short stories have been published, along with essays and a couple of reviews.
A few rejections sent me spiralling. I had not yet understood that I was part of a community. I reached out for support to places that could not provide it, and didn’t reach out to anybody who could. Because I didn’t know they were there.
So I wrote, and wrote and wrote. And as I say, some of it was published.
Learning to be a better collaborator
And I tried, for a short stint, to see what it felt like on the other side of that acquisition desk, running a niche publishing imprint that specialised in writing about jazz and improvised music. One of the reasons I’m bloody glad I did it is because it led me to some of the most uplifting and soul-satisfying music I’ve ever heard, and through the music to the people who make it and who are themselves endlessly inspiring. Another reason? I learned a great deal about the hard work of author management, marketing and promotion. I learned that the authors whose work is easier to promote are the ones who understand that when it comes to getting their writing in front of readers, they are part of a team of experts, all with the book’s best interests in mind.
Finding a community
And then a professional acquaintance (who has since become a friend and recently has had her debut novel published to huge success) sent me a flyer and an invitation to apply for a masterclass with Antoni Jach. Thanks to my friend Lyn, and Antoni and the cohort of brilliant and welcoming writers, the wheels of my writing life started turning again.
Reading and writing for fun and profit
In 2021. I started reading again. With the help of Instagram and Facebook and real human writers and readers, I found a community. My world filled up again with ideas, and words, and conversations … and writing.
My second novel is looking for a home and I’m thousands of words into number 3. That in itself feels wonderful.
To add to the excitement, I’ve been putting together the book marketing course for authors that’s been on my mind for a while, sharing everything I’ve learned about how authors can successfully market and promote their work, feeling great about this essential aspect of being an author.
Who knows when I will fill out an international boarding pass again. Doesn’t matter. I am still a writer and now I also feel like a writer again.
Some background information …
University of Melbourne, Master of Creative Writing, 2008
University of Melbourne, Graduate Certificate in Applied Linguistics, 2006
University of New England, Bachelor of Arts, 1987
2017 – ‘Better than the Farm’ a short story in Joiner Bay and Other Stories. Margaret River Press
2013 – ‘Testimony, The Ties That Bind’, an essay in Testimony: the Life of Charlie Parker
2012 – ‘The Dog of Fiction and the Wolf of Memory’, in Griffith Review 34
2011/2012 Australian Book Review (ABR) 337 – Review of Charlotte Wood’s Animal People
2011 – ‘New York Story’ in Sleepers Almanac No 7.
2011 Australian Book Review (ABR) 334 – Review of A Break In The Chain: A History of the Early Kozminskys by Tangea Tansley
2007 – 2013 Various contributions to the Australian Music Centre magazine Resonate
2005 – 2010 Various contributions to AllAboutJazz.com
2003 – Tristessa & Lucido (UQP)
2008 – 2012: Managing and contributing editor, extempore press, responsible for publication of the extempore Journal (multiple contributors), Take Me Higher by John Clare, A Sudden Sentence In The Air: jazz poems by Geoff Page, Conjuror by Allan Browne, EXT2012 jazz writing anthology
2011 – 2015: Managing editor AustralianJazz.net
Public speaking and facilitation
2014 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues – onstage interview with Enrico Rava
2014 Melbourne Jazz Festival – onstage interview with Charles Lloyd and Maria Farantouri
2013 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues – onstage interview with Gerald Clayton
2008 – 2013 Mistress of ceremonies – launching 9 extempore publications
2003 Sydney Writers Festival – panel discussion
2018 – 2019 Board member then Chair. Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues
2016 – 2019 Arts Council Mansfield, Committee member and Secretary
2011 – 2012 Small Press Network, Board member and Board Secretary
2003 – Eastside Radio, Paddington NSW Board Member and Board Secretary
Broadcasting and podcasting
2021 – current Radio Mansfield Books, Arts & Music
2020 – Table 19 Podcast
2019 – Radio Mansfield Table19 late night jazz.
2014 – The AustralianJazz.net podcast
2001 – 2003 Eastside Radio
1987 – 2ARM radio, Armidale NSW (Late night jazz 9pm – midnight)
Teaching and workshops
2013 – current: Workshops ‘Words about music ‘ – Practical, repeatable techniques for musicians to use when writing reviews, artist statements, blurbs, media releases and other promotional content.
Professional writing, editing and publishing
I have been working with the written word in a professional capacity since 1994, and much longer than that for pleasure. I absolutely love what I do and I’ve been fortunate enough to write and edit for hundreds of organisations in the nearly thirty years that I’ve been working in this space.
My experience in tertiary education and government environments is balanced with a portfolio of technical and web writing for businesses ranging from from investment management to professional services, biotech, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, service delivery & management, financial services and a range of small, medium and micro businesses.
My special skill? Taking information of any kind, no matter how complex, and applying structure, format, tone and a good edit for clarity and effectiveness. Your valuable information deserves to be read and understood and enjoyed. I can do that for you.
Examples of the writing and editing work I’ve done include:
- policies, procedures, governance and project documents
- user manuals, tech guides, SOPs and quick reference guides
- articles, blogs and entire websites
- case studies and testimonials
- social media copy