IF YOU’VE got time, sign up for work experience or volunteer for community publicatio­ns and radio stations. Sign up for short courses and learn new skills, or refine the ones you’ve got. The main thing is to read and listen a lot – and have a bazillion ideas ready to go. The form doesn’t matter. Original stories and ideas do.

DEPENDING where you’re at in the content-producing process, your day-to-day work might include refining and harvesting ideas, pitching to editors and gatekeeper­s, doing research and interviews, or sweating at your desk trying to put the puzzle pieces together. There are lots of steps and tasks, but they all involve self-discipline. If you’re good with time management, you’ve got a head start.

THE media landscape shifts rapidly and it’s worth staying nimble. When I started, all I wanted to do was write for print. Nowadays, much of the magazine industry is gutted and newspapers are mostly online, competing with outlets that didn’t exist until recently. Hell, I still remember when podcasts first appeared! Readership­s are fragmented, which is difficult for legacy media, but on the other hand, there are opportunit­ies for storytelle­rs to find new audiences that didn’t exist before.

IF YOU’RE a published author in Australia – published by a decent-sized publisher – it’s estimated you’ll earn around $12K on average from your creative work alone. It’s modest stuff. The rest is augmented by other work: corporate copywritin­g, teaching, events. The biggest misconcept­ion is that there’s some kind of aesthetic or lifestyle around working as a writer or podcaster. What matters at the end of the day is the quality of the work, and whether you have something important, thoughtful or funny to say.

YOU’LL need to be an ideas factory – stay curious and in a state of wonder. Be endlessly interested in other people. Don’t care too much about rejection, because every storytelle­r will have far more rejections than wins. And be organised. It’s one thing to learn something cool or have a cool story to tell, and another thing to share it with the world. Storytelli­ng is for nerds who like to share. (I guess I’m that nerd.)

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