“Aussie” Al McCartan – Fear of Writing Success Story

“Aussie” Al McCartan, doing the morning shift at 2MCE-FM in Bathurst, Australia

“Aussie” Al McCartan, doing the morning shift at 2MCE-FM in Bathurst, Australia

I’VE KNOWN AL for years now, as a Fear of Writing regular and as one of the global friendships I’ve made while doing this work. Al has contributed as a reader on the Articles page at fearofwriting.com and as a mad-keen scribbler during the 10K Day.

(He’s famous for launching a 10K Day while everybody else was still snoozing, since the sun comes up in Australia long before it does in the USA.)

But the real test came when I asked Al to become a guest blogger for Milliver’s Travels. Having lived in Australia myself for 25 years, it would not be seemly to have a travel blog without some Aussie stories. But the stories I could write all go back to the days before the digital camera (and my old photo albums are buried in storage). So, me mate Al was in the hot seat.

On guest blogger Ja’Nese Dixon’s FoW post, Fear: The Dream Stealer, Al left this comment:

What a great article! Ja’Nese, it fitted me to a T. I have/had an innate fear of writing. Why? I dunno. Now, by this, I mean creative writing. To cite Oz vernacular “This is bloody crazy, because I am a broadcast/print journo.”

I love the concept of the burning building and with my writing, I’ll do just that – go for broke.

Milli has invited me to check out her Milliver’s Travels with a view to doing a short piece on my home town – and country, Australia.

I do not like dream stealers – but then as you pointed out, by denying others to view my writing, I am being selfish and thus my own dream stealer.

Al had no trouble saying yes to the gig, and no trouble coming up with his first story idea. But I think he got a bit nervous when I asked him for rewrites. You see, Al’s a history buff, and his story was based on a historical setting in his home town, so naturally he gave it a historical slant. But too much history doesn’t work for travel articles.

Al did a smart thing and interviewed the next traveler he saw. While speaking with a man from Arizona at the local mall he asked, “What would you be looking for in a visit to Bathurst?” The man replied, “Somewhere I could have fun. Not too much history, but something my dad and mom would enjoy too.”

As Al put it, “’Nuff said!” The next day I received Al’s rewrite, and all I could do was write back and say


(John Newcombe is a beloved Aussie tennis star from the ’70s, and bewdy means bloody fantastic.)

Not only did I love his article, I loved Al’s gumption in first expressing—and then giving a back seat to—his fears in order to break into print. From the funny and charming thank-you note I received after his story was published, I gather Al was pretty pleased with the results himself.

Visit Al’s first published travel story (don’t forget to leave him a comment!):

The Chifley Home, Bathurst, Australia



Fear: The Dream Stealer

Milliver’s Travels: Be a Guest Blogger

3 Responses to “Aussie” Al McCartan – Fear of Writing Success Story
  1. Ja'Nese Dixon
    August 6, 2010 | 6:08 PM

    Way to go Al!!! I’m heading over to the travel post now.

  2. Al McCartan
    April 2, 2011 | 4:41 PM

    Wow! that is a blushmaking ‘trackback’. It seems yonks (years) ago when I did this. The best part, it was fun doing ’em all.
    Oznote: for those contemplating a writing career this – Fear Of Writing – blogsite is a great way to get finger to keyboard (Quill to ink, if you’re from UT :))I reckon that this is as good, if not better than a class at college – and no exams either.

  3. John
    February 20, 2012 | 8:01 AM

    I am looking forward to reading Al’s travel article, on Bathurst, Australia. I am wondering if it will require an Aussie translation dictionary. I was impressed by Al’s statement “I do not like dream stealers – but…. thus my own dream stealer.” because it contained a great deal of meaning and sensitivity. I am sure that his travel article will be “fantastic.”

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