Elly McDonald



My professional writing career started at age 17, when Chris Forsyth, then editor of Nation Review (an Australian independent weekly newspaper), commissioned me to write film reviews. At age 18 I began my career as a rock music journalist, writing regularly for mainstream publications such as The Australian newspaper and for specialist music publications such as RAM (Rock Australia Magazine).

Across the ’80s I interviewed and wrote about many of Australia’s iconic rock bands. Some of these – The Angels, Cold Chisel, INXS, Dragon, Divinyls – I blog about on this site.

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In the late ’80s I wrote articles for magazines such as HQ and Cleo at publisher Kerry Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press (ACP). As a sideline to journalism I undertook publicity assignments for record companies and creative artists.

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In the ’90s, I worked at blue-chip advertising agencies in London, mostly in marketing and business development roles:

  • Arc Advertising, as Marketing Director 1999
  • Western International Media Europe (previously the media department of what was then Lowe Howard-Spink), as Marketing Director 1997/98
  • Maher Bird Associates (the integrated communications agency within what was then Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson), as Business Development Director 1996/97
  • Walsh Trott Chick Smith, as New Business Manager 1995/96
  • Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, Advertising Effectiveness Initiative 1994/95

In the early ’90s in London I also worked at Haymarket Publishing and at a public relations consultancy, Wiggmoore Publicity.

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On my return to Australia, in time for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, I wrote funding submissions and marketing materials for non-profit organisations.

Non-profits I’ve worked for include:

  • National Heart Foundation (Victoria), as Communications Officer
  • Garvan Institute of Medical Research (St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney), as Public Relations Officer
  • Bethany Community Support in Geelong, as Marketing & Fundraising Manager.

In addition to my professional writing I have published widely as a creative writer in Australian literary journals and anthologies, winning several awards. I have a BA (Hons) from Sydney University with a major in English.

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13 thoughts on “About

  1. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices
    out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any recommendations?

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Malinda, that is very kind of you. Thank you! I’m no guru on blog writing – I set up the Elly Takes A Stab (Telling Tales) blog to offload short memoir pieces, mainly for myself, and this one, Elly McDonald Writer, was originally set up to market my services as an editor and copywriter. But then I figured posting sordid tales of sex’n’drugs’rock’n’roll was maybe not the best way to promote myself professionally. Yes, I think there’s much to be said for setting up initially on a free platform, and WordPress works well. (I researched many others.) I upgraded to a premium site when I was serious about the marketing angle and wanted my own URL. Truth is, I only kept my sites active for a couple of months and then went into hibernation. I was very torn about whether I actually *wanted* readers! I did nothing to promote my blogs beyond adding tags. So I’d say the more important question as an aspiring blogger, beyond IT issues, is “Who am I writing for? How do I want to address my readers? How do I wish to engage them?”

      A friend of mine has a blog called Master of Something I’m Yet to Discover. She has been extremely successful at using her blog to create relationships, to interact with her readers and to reciprocate. Seems to me she’s a model of how to blog as a writer, as opposed to as someone selling something commercially. Very best wishes for your blog and for your writing, Malinda.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Malinda, it’s a very long time later, but if you liked the fantasy short stories this might interest you https://ellymcdonaldwriter.com/2018/05/03/the-lenny-novella-c-26737-words-2012-and-2018/


  2. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both
    equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is something not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy that I found this during my hunt for something regarding this.


  3. I have spent some time reading your blog today. You have an amazing life story and a wonderful honesty. Not that I’m into rock stars or that era of music, quite the contrary. But i found it fascinating. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just read it Elly. Brilliant. Winning isn’t everything. It can’t be so. To fail to win is not be ‘a loser’. But don’t give up. Give it your best. So valid. I deal with people in my humble life of small business and often I come off second best in a situation. I say,”I don’t have to win all the time.” Sometimes people need a little help and that is more important than me winning. I’ll look for more footy stuff on your blog one day. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful life you have. A fascinating read. I’m jealous of your rock and roll past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan, that’s so lovely. Thank you. I read your blog post about friendship, and Ellen, and let me say I don’t think “brushes with fame” mean anything compared with solid friendships, family, and love in all its forms. All best


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