Interviewed: Plus One Brisbane

Sarah McVeigh of Brisbane music blog Plus One asked me some questions, mostly about music writing and my work habits. I answered them. Excerpts below.

Is Brisbane as good a place as any to be a music writer?

Without doubt. There are loads of great stories within the local scene waiting to be told, and there are always nationals and internationals visiting. Anyone who argues otherwise isn’t trying hard enough.

You seem to be getting alot of work – what’s your work routine like? How much time is spent chained to the desk? How do you deal with all the distractions of being constantly online?

I pitch at least ten story ideas to various publications each week. Those that are approved, I write. Those that are rejected, I shop elsewhere if appropriate; if not, I let them go. I use an application called RescueTime to track the time that I spend on the computer each week, and how my time is split between different kinds of software usage. (It’s free and it’s pretty ace, you should check it out.) Looking back through my personal history, I spend 40-45 hours per week in front of a computer. I split my time between working from my bedroom, and from an office with friends just outside of the Brisbane CBD.

Distractions are tough. Really fucking tough. If I told you that I had the discipline to work all day without checking in on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Mess+Noise, The Vine, ABC News and email, I’d be lying. But I am improving. Slowly.

That’s the beauty and burden of working in and around the internet: it’s both my workplace and playground. It is a pleasure and a curse. But all things considered, I get by. I don’t miss deadlines. Those are the biggest motivator to quit screwing around and get to work: the reality that if you miss a deadline, you’re fucked. So the goal is to consistently create deadlines for myself (published articles, reviews, blog stories, Waycooljnr entries, etc) to ensure that I’m constantly on deadline. That’s the mentality I aim to inhabit.

On a related note, the website that I use to plan my week is TeuxDeux. It’ll probably change your life, like it did mine.

What (in your view) is the likelihood of you sustaining a career in music writing? Do you know many young writers who are managing to earn a wage?

I don’t know many my age who are earning a wage, no. But my skills aren’t based entirely around around writing. I’m doing copywriting and digital strategy on the side. I just tend not to blog about these side gigs, though, because they’re less interesting. In time, though, all will be revealed. It’s all contributing to my path as a writer, in the end, so I’m grateful for every opportunity I receive.

As to the first question, it’s a case of ‘we’ll see’. Ask me the same question at the end of the year. Right now, it’s fun and it’s profitable, so I see no reason to give it up.

Full interview at Plus One Brisbane. Thanks Sarah.

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