Interview with freelance writer Sarah Hannah Fisher

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Today I'm interviewing freelance writer and Sydney-sider Sarah Hannah Fisher. She's written for Girlfriend, Cherrie, Peppermint and Cleo and for various online publications. She's also associate editor of The Scavenger. I discovered her blog a few months ago, and what I really love about it is that she talks about things like animal rights and social and environmental issues as well as blogging on things like fashion, beauty, celebrities and pop culture. I love a smart fashion blog. (You should read this article, too.)

Steph: Tell me a bit about yourself, and when and how you started writing. What made you decide to become a freelance writer?
Sarah: Well, I'm a 25-year-old Sydney-sider and I've wanted to be a writer from the age of about 12 or so. Possibly earlier! I've always had an obsession with magazines and I knew that's where I wanted my career to be. After highschool, I studied Media and Communications at Sydney University but I didn't really enjoy it so it took me a while to finish it since I kept deferring to travel. I started doing some freelance work at the end of my degree and after I had graduated, mainly as a way to build up my writing portfolio while I was job hunting!

Steph: What does freelance writing involve? How do you go about submitting to magazines? (Tell us a bit about the process – from pitch to publication).
Sarah: It took me a while to get the hang of it. The first thing I do is come up with an idea and research a few magazines to pitch it too, re-reading back issues to get a feel for their style and tone and making sure they haven't published anything similar recently. Then I basically just email editors with my pitch and wait! I begun with no contacts in the industry at all but I've built up a fair few now.

Steph: What advice would you give to a young (or older!) writer, wanting to start working as a freelancer?
Sarah: You need to get used to rejection- it goes hand and hand with the gig, unfortunately. Politness goes a long way too, you never know what editor you will meet again later on in life and you definately don't want to go burning any bridges.

Steph: You’re working on a semi-autobiographical book at the moment, which I’m very curious about. Could you tell me a bit about it?
Sarah: I've always dreamed of publishing my own book, like most writers I suppose! During my late teens/early twenties I went through some very, very hard times mentally and that will be the focus of the book- a young girl who is diagnosed with mental illness and is hospitalised and how she copes (or doesn't cope) with her life. So it's going to be pretty dark. I kept various journals and scrapbooks during the time period and the book is going to be based on those. I'm still in the stage of collaborating all the bits and peices of writings and drawings that I have- it's going to take me a while!

Steph: What parts of the writing and submitting process do you find challenging, and which parts are the most rewarding?
Sarah: Rejection is never fun but I don't take it personally. I enjoy setting my own schedule but it can be hard when all my friends are out having fun and I'm typing away at home, especially if they don't see it as real "work." The most rewarding would definately be holding a copy of the published article in my hand and seeing my name in print!

Steph: What are your hopes for the future, career-wise?
Sarah: Definitely to finish my book! Aside from that, I would love to be a features writer on any of my favourite magazines- Vogue, RUSSH, Yen, Frankie, Marie Claire...


Thanks, Sarah! Check out Sarah Hannah Fisher's online portfolio, and you should definitely read Sarah's personal blog, Death Wears Diamond Jewellery and follow her on Twitter.

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