Changing careers can be a daunting experience, especially when, like me, you’ve been working for the same company for 15 years. Stepping back out into the job market after such a long time away from interviews and CVs was indeed a big challenge for me, even more so as I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do in the next stage of my career. My previous job had covered everything from environmental policy to warehouse management, project management, logistics and IT. The upside to this was that I had a wide range of options to explore – both as extensions of my previous experience and new and unknown paths.
I decided to take some time and really discover what I would most enjoy doing and it was spotting the Morris Journalism Academy advertisement that sent me in the right direction. I had a dream of combining my passion and experience in music with a love of words and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I enrolled in the Professional Freelance Journalism Course and over the next six months I was given the confidence and the knowledge required to pursue my desire to be a freelance music journalist.
The journalism course worked so well for me because it wasn’t like heading back to school or facing strict university deadlines. Instead, it instilled the crucial skills of self-motivation and time management. The assignments were flexible enough that any student could shape it to their own needs and their own area of specialisation. In fact, some of the most interesting tutorials were on subjects that I didn’t think I had any interest in (cars and fishing).
My expectations of the tutor’s input were exceeded from the outset. I was given frank and realistic feedback that also encouraged and pushed me in the right direction when my writing was still in its early stages. The constant refocusing on the basic skills of journalism was also hugely beneficial in keeping my knowledge grounded and preventing me from straying into unnecessary hyperbole.
During the journalism course and since its completion I have been actively pursuing freelance work in the music industry. There is a wealth of opportunities out there, and the tutorials on pitching and promoting your work were invaluable in this regard. I have written over 100 album reviews, most of which have been published on some of the most prominent music websites in Australia (FasterLouder, The Dwarf, Cyclic Defrost, LiveGuide), I have reviewed an incredible array of live concerts and I have had the chance to interview some of my musical heroes. As well as online publications, my work has also been featured in the New Zealand magazine Real Groove and the Tasmanian street press magazine A Thin Line. I have found that there are many opportunities out there, it is just a matter of knowing how and where to look. The course taught me these essential skills and without them my work would have no doubt become a hobby outside of a regular day job.
I highly recommend the Morris Journalism Academy to any writers out there who are seeking to enter the world of freelance writing. Whether you are just wanting to write casually for a local newsletter or you believe you can become a respected career journalist, this journalism course will help you to gather the skills and confidence to take it further.