Andrew McMillen is a freelance journalist and author based in Brisbane, Australia. His work has been published in Rolling Stone, The Australian, The Monthly, Qweekend and Buzzfeed. Andrew’s first book is Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs (UQP, 2014), which features intimate interviews with some of Australia’s best musicians. Andrew hosts Penmanship, a podcast about Australian writing culture featuring in-depth interviews with people who earn a living from working with words. Andrew is part of the lineup for our Freelance Focus festival, Brisbane, August 4 – 6.
Before he joins us at Freelance Focus, we caught up with Andrew to talk podcasts, journaling and his next book:
MY FAVOURITE PODCAST IS:
Longform. The concept: weekly, hour-long conversations with writers, journalists and editors based in the United States. I have loved this show since its inception in 2012. It has long been part of my Thursday morning routine to download the latest episode and listen immediately. I find it incredibly inspiring to hear writers talking about their achievements, tactics and failures. Longform also inspired me to start my own podcast, Penmanship, in May 2015. Guests so far have included Trent Dalton from The Weekend Australian Magazine, Amy Remeikis from Brisbane Times, John Birmingham, and Matthew Condon and Lizzie Loel , both at Qweekend.
I WORK BEST:
When I have an unmoveable deadline. When there’s no more freedom to procrastinate, and other human beings are eagerly awaiting my work.
THE WORK I AM MOST PROUD OF IS:
My first book, Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs, published in 2014 by University of Queensland Press. As a lifelong reader, seeing my name on the cover of a book was (and remains) an enormous thrill. And from a feature writing perspective, I’m most proud of my profile of the Australian performance duo Clarke & Dawe, which was the cover story in The Weekend Australian Review in February.
THE FREELANCE CAREER I MOST ADMIRE:
John Birmingham*, a fellow Brisbane freelancer. When I first began pursuing a freelance career in 2009, he was the model to aspire to, as someone who’d built a career out of writing widely across several mediums. Six years later, that is still true. I recently interviewed John on Penmanship about his career and craft, too.
I WOULD ADVISE MY 15-YEAR-OLD SELF:
Start a journal. I didn’t start keeping a regular journal until I was 18. I wish I could look back on what I was thinking and feeling at 15. The human memory is fallible. Journals are a strong protective measure against this fact.
MY NEXT PROJECT IS:
My second book for University of Queensland Press, to be published in 2016 – if all goes to plan. By this I mean: if I meet my deadline. Pressure’s on!
*You can also catch John Birmingham at Freelance Focus!