Girl with a Satchel Blogger: Erica Bartle

Girl With a Satchel is the creation of freelance journalist Erica Bartle, who left her glossy magazine career behind after finding

God and a husband, but not before establishing this here blog – her collection of musings on media and matters of the feminine kind.

Raised on a steady diet of Young Talent Time, Judy Blume books and Dolly magazine, Bartle infuses her work with personal insights on body image, eating disorders and “girl stuff” in the hope of shining a light on those aspects of popular culture, and accepted glossy magazine practises, that conflict with the better interests of women.

A lover of good writing and proponent of good blogging, she has a Bachelor of Media degree (Macquarie University), teaches feature writing at the Queensland University of Technology, has appeared at the Sydney Writer’s Festival and hosted a blogging workshop for the Queensland Writer’s Centre. Her editorial credits include performing deputy editor duties on teen title Girlfriend as well as writing for Total Girl, Cleo,Cosmopolitan and The Walkley Magazine.

Describe yourself in 3 words:
Driven, caring, cheeky.

What is your life motto?
Living a good and Godly life. All for Jesus.

When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful?
How does one measure success?! I guess my foray into the world of print publishing started after university, with my first job working on K-Zone magazine. From there, I worked as Beauty Editor and then Deputy Editor of Girlfriend before starting But I really feel like my whole life has gone into preparing me for the work I do.

How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream?
At uni, I was fastidious about meticulously collating pages from magazines and following my favourite columnists and applying myself to my work. I’ve always used a lot of my extra-curricular time writing and reading. Since launching GirlWithaSatchel, I’ve worked more ridiculous hours than I ever did working in magazines.

Describe how difficult the business really is?
Well, I am the writer, sub-editor, advertising manager, marketing manager, PR manager and finance manager all in one! I don’t think many people realise just how much work goes into producing a daily blog – it’s like producing one or two editor’s letters or op-ed columns EVERY SINGLE DAY. Mind you, a blogger sets her own standards.

What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson?
Thinking that I didn’t need other people. We ALL need other people. Isolation and loneliness are the two biggest killers, I think. They lead to all sorts of health problems – both mental and physical.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date?
I get new advice everyday from my Joyce Meyer devotional. Today’s references the Bible quote “If God is with us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8: 13)”. Joyce writes: “God looks for availability, not ability. Let God build you, your reputation, and your career. When the time is right, He will deliver you out of adversity, and then you’ll see the fulfilment of your dreams.”

What is the piece of advice that you weren’t?
I wish someone had told me earlier that investing into my relationships would help feed my work, and so too my misfortunes and difficulties, which I believe have connected me to humanity in ways I could never have imagined. Life isn’t all rainbows; you have to have the storms and rain clouds to appreciate them.

In your mind, is formal training essential?
That’s a tough one. I think that to write well, you need to read widely and diversely. You don’t necessarily do that with a university education – you get very good at writing essays! But training is good for discipline, which you also need as a writer and blogger. An education is also empowering, so I do believe in getting the best out of yours. However, the best training for a writer is just living life!

What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career?
Get writing and blogging and journaling and creating and living. Go to the depths of who you are by channelling the little person you were before you grew up and life got complicated. Network, be a person of good repute and give your work all you’ve got. There’s no point in being mediocre.

What kept you going when you felt like giving up?
Sheer determination and my faith in God – I truly think he wants what is best for all of us, but suffering breeds perseverance, so sometimes we have to fall. As Miley Cyrus sings, it’s about the climb.

Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time?
Nope – God has a blueprint for each of us and all our experiences and everything we accumulate on our life journey (memories, relationships, learnings) are all just part of realising that WHOLE person you’re becoming. I think we’re all here to serve our fellow human being in some way, by channelling what it is we love to do and what we’re ultimately gifted for. Finding out what that is can take a lifetime!

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