Because I work full-time in a day job that isn’t related to writing, I like to track cool milestones in my writing career. Below are the best ones so far:
Published by Lonely Planet
By 2019 I have been published by some very cool places (including Writers Bloc and Australian literary journal Going Down Swinging). In November 2019 I get to add another feather to my cap, this time being published online by renowned travel authority Lonely Planet and credited as “Emma Michelle: Lonely Planet writer.”
First Reading Event
After managing to avoid much of a reading at my 2017 book launch, in 2019 I get to do my first proper reading. This is arranged by my writing group and held at a wine bar off Hardware Lane, crammed inside a cellar at the bottom of a spiral staircase. Among the walls of wine and a lovely, earthy smell (we were literally underground a.f.) I get to read aloud a new short story I am working on.
Win my first writing award
In September 2018 it is announced that I have been awarded the inaugural Freefall Writing Freedom to Write Scholarship. The Scholarship supports fledgling writers by providing access to a week-long immersive and generative writing workshop, and in early October I attending the Daylesford Writing Retreat to start a new project and learn more about Freefall Writing.
My writing is used as a teaching resource
Through some swift Googling, I discover that my first ever published article (discussing J. D. Salinger’s work and his experiences at war) is being used as a teaching resource in a high school Literary Studies lesson plan. Cool!
Invoice a former employer for sold copies of my book
Okay, this one is a bit silly, but in April 2018 I send an invoice to Dymocks Tuggeranong for copies of my book Watching Cartoons with Boys that they have sold in their store. Having worked there for about 3 years before moving to Melbourne, it is a surreal and special moment in my writing career.
First appearance in a magazine
An article I wrote is published in Issue 1/2018 of Farrago Magazine. This represents the first time my work appears in a printed magazine (later that year I am also published in Orenda Magazine).
first in-person interview
Following the publication of my book, I do my first ever in-person interview. Despite feeling anxious (and my responses being typed out verbatim!) I manage not to disappear into the ground and (hopefully) not sound like a total idiot. This is counted as a win.
First book launch
My self-published book Watching Cartoons with Boys is officially launched at Brunswick Bound bookstore in Melbourne. At the launch I am able to thank all of the people who helped with getting the book finished, including friends who were there to write alongside me at the library/pub/cafe, or who even proofread chapters and offered feedback and edits.
My writing is reviewed for the first time
Underground Writers zine review my upcoming self-published book Watching Cartoons with Boys, calling it “nostalgic, clever and funny… a reminder of all the ways that cartoons intersect with and reflect our own lives.” This is the first published review of my work I have ever received, so naturally I am very excited.
First paid writing gig
After building a small portfolio of published articles, my article “‘Don’t let me disappear’: Trauma narrative in The Catcher in the Rye” is published online by Kill Your Darlings. This is both my first paid gig as a writer, and first article to appear in a renowned Australian literary journal.
ABC Radio refer to me as “A Melbourne Writer”
Following another article published online by The Conversation, I am invited to speak with Dominic Knight on ABC Local Radio. During this interview, I am very proud to be introduced as and referred to as “a Melbourne writer.” I. Have. Arrived.
Republished by The New Zealand Herald
An article that I co-wrote with A/Prof Elizabeth Maxwell for The Conversation (“Six years on: the enduring influence of J. D. Salinger”) is republished online by The New Zealand Herald. In print, The New Zealand Herald has the largest circulation of all newspapers in New Zealand.
Published online for the first time
“J. D. Salinger: the little-known legacy of one of the world’s most-read authors,” co-written with A/Prof Elizabeth Maxwell, is published online by The Conversation. It is the 4th most-read article associated with The University of Melbourne that month, attracting 30,000+ clicks through republishing on sites like Scroll.in and Digg.