Getting published – why timing and titles matter.

Despite a long career working in media, when I first returned to full time writing my portfolio of published articles was rather slim. As a television journalist I’ve written, produced and reported on hundreds of news, current affairs and lifestyle stories for broadcast, but writing for print was never high on my priority list.

Last year when I started my Master of Arts in Creative Writing, I began exploring new writing styles and at the prompt of my tutor, submitted one of my personal essays for publication. I had a list of Australian literary journals I’d hoped would accept my work and at the top of the list was Meanjin Quarterly, one Australia’s most prestigious publications, with Jonathan Green in the Editor’s seat.

I created an account on the submission website, Submittable, filled in the required information and at 14.04 on October 4th 2016, I hit SEND. And waited. I figured I’d give Meanjin four weeks to respond and if I hadn’t heard back, I’d submit to the next publication on my list.

Later that day I checked my email, and there it was, an acceptance. Of course I was delighted but also a little bit shocked. I double-checked the time of the acceptance – 14.24 – just 20 minutes after I submitted my essay. The piece is probably a 10-minute read so on the quick maths, I’d say I completely lucked out by hitting SEND at precisely the moment the editor had a moment to a) notice a submission and b) read it.

There is no doubt the title of my essay helped its cause – and I have Greek etymology to thank for that. The subject I wrote about was migraine auras, an affliction I’ve suffered since my teenage years. The visual aura I see when a migraine first appears reminds me of a kaleidoscope, a Greek word that translates, most exquisitely to, ‘the observation of beautiful forms’. To her credit, as soon as I explained the etymology of kaleidoscope, my tutor (Delia Falconer) said, ‘there’s your title.’

So, here we are in March 2017. My essay, ‘The Observation of Beautiful Forms’ is in the Autumn issue of Meanjin Quarterly. My name is on the back of the journal rubbing inky shoulders with Frank Moorhouse!

Pop into your favourite quality bookstore to buy a copy or head over to Meanjin and if you’re not already a subscriber, you know what to do! The Autumn 2017 issue looks like this:



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