In addition to spilling thousands of words of my personal thoughts here on this blog, I also sometimes pitch and write freelance articles. Freelance article writing is something I love doing — I find it challenging, terrifying, and deeply fulfilling — and a dream would be to do it full-time.
This time last year, I saw in a Facebook group for young Australian writers a post by Kate Walton, an Australian living abroad in Indonesia, where she’d written something like, this was the year I first took freelance pitching seriously, and linked to this blog post where she’d shared the articles she’d had published last year.
Kate’s post was the first and only thing I saw that made me think hey, I could also do that; there’s no great mystery to how to pitch or write an article; there’s just discipline and perseverance and hard work and some luck, and here’s the path to doing it laid out before me. Freelance writing can be a real thing, not just a dream.
Following my round-up of what I read this year, I thought it would be nice to recap what I’ve written — for myself, as a record of my writing work this last full year in Timor-Leste; for my parents, to reassure them I am working here, not just sipping coconuts by the sea; and for perhaps another young Australian thinking I’d quite like to do that too but I don’t know where to start.
Here’s where I started (I’m exactly copying Kate’s way of listing this information).
In 2018, I:
Pitched 64 articles (including re-pitches);
Had 28 pitches accepted;
Was commissioned for one article without pitching; and
Published 27 articles across nine different publications, including Crikey, New Naratif, the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter, Southeast Asia Globe, SBS Life, Junkee and The Cusp.
Here’s my full list of published articles:
‘Why don’t we like eating the food we grow?’ – Southeast Asia Globe, 29 November 2018
Breaking bureaucratic barriers for young Timorese entrepreneurs – Southeast Asia Globe Online, 1 November 2018
Why Timor-Leste took its $484 million Greater Sunrise gamble – Crikey, 9 October 2018
Timorese seasonal workers return home – Hot Chicks with Big Brains, September 2018
‘Hypocrite minister’: Timor-Leste activists blast Bishop for prosecution of Witness K – Crikey, 20 August 2018
Have Australia and Timor-Leste turned the page on factious relations? – Southeast Asia Globe Online, 1 August 2018
Julie Bishop’s new Timor-Leste chapter – The Interpreter, 30 July 2018
Timor-Leste’s forgotten heroes – New Naratif, 22 June 2018
Cautious hope for Timor-Leste with appointment of new PM – Southeast Asia Globe Online, 20 June 2018
Behind Timor-Leste’s Pride – New Naratif, 7 June 2018
6 things to stop buying to save real money – The Cusp, 6 June 2018
I saw my friends growing up without me – The Cusp, 6 June 2018
For Timor-Leste, a promise of progress – Southeast Asia Globe Online, 5 June 2018
Why you need a personal brand – The Cusp, 1 June 2018
The case for setting unrealistic goals – The Cusp, 30 May 2018
The mistakes you’re making that lead to burnout – The Cusp, 22 May 2018
Timor-Leste election: The generation gap – The Interpreter, 17 May 2018
How to ask for a pay rise – The Cusp, 9 April 2018
Are you ready to move in together? – The Cusp, 20 March 2018
5 ways to make this week instantly healthier – The Cusp, 29 March 2018
Why I regret rushing to the end of my degree – Junkee, 28 March 2018
How to sneak more vegan food into your diet – The Cusp, 26 March 2018
Self-care tips on a budget – The Cusp, 16 March 2018
How to make a long-distance friendship work – SBS Life, 6 March 2018
5 things to do if you don’t want to work in your degree field – Junkee, 1 March 2018
5 ways moving overseas can really boost your degree – Junkee, 27 February 2018
One tiny trick to enjoy saving money – The Cusp, 23 February 2018
Seeing this all written out makes me feel really proud (I published zero articles last year!), but the thing I’m most proud of is this number: 36; the number of unsuccessful pitches I sent over the year.
I think my ratio of pitches sent to pitches received is encouraging (I read a lot of advice about who to pitch to and how before I started sending pitches, trust me), but I’m such a thin-skinned sook I usually need endless encouragement and a one-hundred per cent success rate to keep going at anything.
I’m really pleased with the fact that repeated rejections and ignoring from publications and editors didn’t deter me from continuing — both throughout this year, and into next year.