Many dream of becoming writers, but few dare to pursue it. Just like with art, music and theatre, writing may not seem like a "proper" or standard career path with stability and a stream for a consistent income.
However, if you have a passion for words, do not let go of that love. Despite what some may think, writing skills are in demand and highly valued by empolyers in many businesses.
We were thrilled to have had a chance to speak to a modern, successful and established Aussie author who is moving the boundaries and making a social impact: Alana Wulff!
Who is Alana Wulff?
Alana is a journalist, senior copywriter and internationally published author. Her writing has been featured in some of Australia’s most popular publications including Vogue Living, The Sydney Morning Herald, Junkee, 9Honey, The Daily Telegraph, New Idea, WHO, Girlfriend magazine and more. As a copywriter, Alana has penned taglines, slogans and range of content for clients including Westpac, Coca-Cola Amatil, Stockland, nudie juice, Officeworks, Australian Hearing, Vision Australia, Sweaty Betty PR and Lack of Colour.
Alana is also the published author or six non-fiction books and one YA fiction novel. Her latest book "GIRLISH”, a guide to feminism for teen girls, was published locally as well in the US and throughout Europe. Major spolier alert - Skillsroad is giving away 5 copies of "Girlish", so get your entries in!
Now let's hear directly from Alana about what her days look like and what's it like to be an author in Australia.
Can you shortly describe a typical day on the job?
I wake up, make myself a strong cup of tea and then get right down to business by checking my emails. I like to get ahead of the ‘working day’ and tend to be pretty organised (in a deadline driven world it’s the only way to keep your head above the water), so I’m usually all-in from the minute I wake up. It also gives me some time to work in the morning before the emails and phone calls start. Once I’ve cleared my inbox and tended to anything needing my urgent attention, I start working on the writing that may be due that week. Depending on how I’m feeling that day, I can either power through the task at hand in a few short hours or take forever to get a single sentence out. Writer’s block is real! You’ll often find me working on blogs, book ideas, website copy, feature stories for magazines and online publications or creating tone of voice guides for my clients. I’m working on a new book idea at the moment and I’m really loving how creative it’s letting me be. When I’m not busy writing, I’m doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff that comes with being your own boss. You quickly remember that you’re not just a writer, you’re a business owner, a marketer, the finance team, the HR team – it’s all on you.
Why did you choose a being a writer, author and journalist as your career? What or who inspired you to do so?
I had known from a very young age that I wanted to be a writer. I always loved creating stories and characters and could very easily get lost in diary entries, story assignments at school, and even used to create my own magazines (yes, I still have them). There’s nothing better than being able to put pen to paper and communicate things that others might need help with or crafting pieces that readers find inspiring or informative. I’ve always joke that there was no other choice. I was going to be a writer.
What would you say are three key personality aspects or skills needed to become a writer, author or journalist?
You need to be able to listen and listen well – it’s all about being perceptive and picking up on those little things that others might miss. A love of reading is also super important, and finally, being able to thrive under pressure. Sometimes you’ll have five deadlines on the same day, calls from your editor, client meetings or be pitching story ideas. You need to thrive to survive.
What have you learned about yourself through the work that you do?
I think a lot of writers often doubt their abilities, because so much of our work is about rejection – but what the last few years has taught me is how resilient I actually am, and how committed I am to doing a good job. It’s not enough to meet deadlines, I want to make my clients happy, and I want my passion projects to bring smiles to the faces of those who engage with them. When GIRLISH was released in America and Europe, I had so many amazing messages from readers, and that reminded me of why the late nights, the edits and all that extra work was worth it.
What’s been your best moment while doing your work?
My favourite moment of all time is when a client or a reader contacts me to say how much they like my work. Nothing beats that feeling – especially when it’s about the books I’ve written. Back when I was working in magazines full-time as a writer, I used to interview celebrities for a living, and while that was AMAZING, there’s something very satisfying about succeeding on your own.
And a really hard moment?
Oh gosh, how long do you have? There are a lot of tough moments being a writer. There’s a lot of “no’s”, there’s a lot of rejection and revision as well as reminding people that you have a highly valuable skill that isn’t to be taken for granted. You have to champion yourself every day, and that can be exhausting.
How do you keep going when things get challenging?
I just remember that it’s only a moment in time and that this too shall pass. Every hard day is a learning opportunity.
Are there any surprising or odd things that people wouldn’t expect if they picked this career?
It never used to be like this but with the rise of the internet and online reviews, comments etc, it seems everyone feels incredibly entitled to have an opinion on what you write. Whether it’s a book or a blog post – there are a lot of readers out there who will take the time to comment on your work and you have to be as chill about the negative comments as you are about the positive. Otherwise, it can really get you down.
Can you share a funny or weird story about something you experienced while working on a project?
There are too many ridiculous stories from back when I used to write for magazines, but I have to say – randomly seeing GIRLISH in my favourite bookstore in Los Angeles was the biggest trip of my life. Pretty sure I *actually* tripped when I saw it.
What advice would you give to young people considering pursuing a career in this industry?
While it may seem like a lot of work, there is nothing better than the arts industry. You will find so many amazing, like-minded creative individuals that you’ll come to call your friends and everyday will be filled with inspiration. If being a writer is something you want to pursue, start now! There’s no one who turns around to say, “OK you’re a writer now”. You have the potential to start your career whenever you want. Enter writing competitions, join writer’s groups online, follow other writers and creative peers on social media or volunteer to be part of a writer’s festival in your area. There are so many amazing opportunities to be had if you look close enough.
To learn more about Alana or her work check out her WEBSITE!
Want to WIN a copy of Alana's book GIRLISH?
Sometimes you need inspiration, support, and advice to help you find your voice and believe in yourself.
We have 5 copies to WIN and all you have to do is share your story, inspire other women and shine a light on the amazing work women throughout the country do each and every day.
And that's it! Head to our Jobs Diary Project to enter your story!
Do you want to find out if a career in writing matches your skills?
Take the CAREER QUIZ and find out!