Being published – why timing and titles matter …

Despite a career in media my collection of published articles is rather slim. I’ve written, produced and reported on hundreds of news, current affairs and lifestyle stories for broadcast, but print publications were never my focus.

When I started a Master of Arts in Creative Writing last year, I began exploring new forms and styles of writing and at the prompt of my tutor, I submitted a personal essay 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, one Australia’s most prestigious publications, with Jonathan Green (also of ABC Radio fame) 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 from Meanjin. Of course I was delighted and a little bit shocked. The time of the acceptance (14.24) was 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 was migraine auras, an affliction I’ve put up with since my teens. The visual aura I see 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.

The Observation of Beautiful Forms is in the Autumn issue of Meanjin. In a nice touch (we’ll take any promotion) the journal lists all writers who contributed to the issue on the back cover, so not only is my essay published, my name is rubbing inky shoulders with Frank Moorehouse!

Pop into your favourite literary bookstore or head over to Meanjin and if you’re not already a subscriber, you know what to do! The Autumn 2016 issue looks like this:



I will post a link to the essay when it’s out from behind the paywall.

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