By Denise Turney
You’re right to think that being a new writer’s tough. It’s kind of like being a new high school or college graduate who’s trying to land her first job. Similar to employers, editors and publishers often won’t hire you unless you have the training (or education) and the experience to complete their writing needs. Talk about a Catch-22.
It’s tough, but you have to start somewhere. The good news is that the Internet has made it easier to not only research writing styles and techniques, it has also made it easier to search for writing jobs. However, if you’re just starting out, you’re going to have to start building a writing portfolio.
Editors and publishers will review your portfolio as your writing career advances, taking note of specific types of assignments (i.e. copywriting, technical writing, medical writing) you’ve completed. They’ll also look at the types of clients you’ve written for (i.e. universities, magazines, newspapers, B2B websites).
To start building your writing portfolio, set aside time each day to look for writing jobs. If you decide to take on a few non-paying gigs, make sure you don’t make working for free a habit. After all, there’s no limit to the numbers of clients who’ll let you research, write and edit content for them for free. Hint – these clients will generally tell you that they’ll give you writing exposure and maybe even be nice enough to include your byline with your work (gee, thanks!). Don’t get sucked down this tunnel.
Other steps you can take to start building your writing portfolio include:
- Applying for junior writer jobs (especially jobs at reputable firms, jobs that provide sufficient training to help you get up-to-speed)
- Staying open to taking on a variety of writing assignments (this step alone could open you up to dozens of writing gigs)
- Enrolling in online or offline courses (there are plenty of free writing courses) to develop your technical writing, medical writing, copywriting, novel writing, editing, etc. skills
- Creating writing job alerts at websites like Indeed, CareerBuilder and Monster
- Visiting job boards like Morning Coffee, Freelance Writing Jobs, Blogging Pro, Journalism Jobs, Online Writing Jobs, Media Bistro, Mandy, etc. every day
- Keeping a spreadsheet to list each writing job you apply for, including specific jobs you gain
- Storing copies of writing assignments you’ve completed on your computer or a removable disks, so you can easily use these past assignments as writing samples when applying for new jobs (If clients ask you to create brand new writing samples for this, be careful. Some people use writing samples to build a database of free content.)
- Designing an effective cover letter
- Adding training, certifications, etc. data to build out your writer resume
- Reaching out to businesses, asking if you can write content for them
- Checking company career boards for jobs you could apply for
- Following up on jobs you’ve already applied for
- Building your confidence, especially if you notice that you’re only applying for no-paying or low-paying jobs
At first glance, landing paying writing gigs might look darn near impossible. Commit to your goal of being a published writer. Start taking effective steps to build a respectable portfolio, a portfolio editors and publishers can’t possible ignore.
Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.