How I finally kickstarted my dream career

How I kickstarted my dream career

I have effed about a lot over the years, when it comes to career. I mean, seriously. I’ve been a carnie, I’ve worked in a ball bearing factory, I’ve even worked as a bikini girl in a dunking machine (not lately, obviously).

But now, here I am, and I am just so happy with my career, I cannot believe I am finally here (not that it’s a destination – I have MUCH more to do yet!). I’m launching something pretty cool to help others get there too, but more about that in a minute.

When I finished school in Queensland in 1990, we measured our performance with something called a TE score. The best you could get was 990. I got 790. That score was so low, I didn’t qualify to get into ANY uni courses in greater Brisbane. My confidence was at a seriously low ebb and I had no idea what I wanted to do.

Carolyn Tate - Champagne Cartel
This was taken a few months before I got my first fake ID – and my academic career went off the rails for about 10 years.

I always wanted to be a writer but I came from a working class background where those kinds of careers were nice-to-haves – and you couldn’t rely on them to pay your rent. So I had loads of uninspiring jobs while I figured myself out.

It wasn’t until after I travelled overseas and I met people from all kinds of backgrounds doing all kinds of interesting things that my confidence started to grow. I decided to move back home and apply to go to uni.

I was accepted into arts, where I started on a journalism major, before I realised I could never be any good at the ‘ambulance chasing’ aspect, so I dropped journalism and majored in politics and Indigenous studies, because they fascinated me. When I finished, I realised I had no particular career prospects, but what I did have was the confidence to finally go after what I wanted.

The professional writing degree I applied for at Deakin University was hard to get into, but my grades from my first degree were excellent, and so I was accepted into my dream degree. I packed my bags and moved to Melbourne. I was 28.

That decision changed my life. I worked hard, I met people who could help me, I gained experience, and I started down the path of a successful freelance writing career that has seen me publish my work in the Sydney Morning Herald, Women’s Health, Dumbo Feather, The Big Issue, Practical Parenting, and loads more.

I’ve worked as an editor on a bunch of publications, including magazines, books, websites and literary journals. I’ve started this blog, which has helped me find a brilliant group of women and change my world in the most amazing and wonderful ways, and I’ve started my second blog Freelance Writers Cartel, where I write articles about being a freelance writer, and get to meet other writers, learn from their careers and hear their stories.

This makes me happy beyond anything I could have imagined when I opened that envelope in 1990 and saw that terrible score that I thought meant the end of my writing dreams.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Thank goodness.

And now I get to help others who want to make that leap into freelance writing. It can be a scary and mysterious career when you’re first starting out, so I’m going to help people who would like to start pitching and selling their stories to websites and magazines.

Want to check it out? Have a look at my Career Kickstarter Course. We’re getting started on 7 September so now is the time to jump in! And right now I’m offering an introductory offer of 20% off. Just enter the code FWC20 at checkout.

Hope to see you there!

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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