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How do I go about developing a published writing portfolio as a new writer?

If I've never published a book before, what are some good first steps? After all, not all writing now is in books but also short form media, copywriting, articles, etc.

I've got a blog I'm updating regularly and I like connecting with my fellow writers. I genuinely both love and hate writing (depending on what time of the day it is) and I'm hoping to channel this passion into something a little more organized and achievable by the end of the year.

#writing #author #journalism #writer #creative-writing #creative-writing #florida #polkcounty

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Scott’s Answer

Being a writer might define you as an author. It also might define you as a business writer, as I am. If you want to develop a portfolio for people to consider before hiring you, I would start by writing a few short form articles on a defined subject.

Your blog is a good place to start, but you should be focused in what you write about. Good form is usually: define your subject. Have an amazing opening to intrigue your reader. Frame the scope of your article, defining your subject clearly in the first paragraph, then proceed to educate, persuade, make fun of, or dramatize your subject. However you write, you should guide your reader and bring them along so they feel entertained and interested at every sentence, and could agree with your ending or conclusion. If you write something satisfying for the reader, no matter how long or short, you will prove that you can write for a focused subject and audience. That’s how an employer may consider you for writing something for their publication. Hope this helps.

This helps a lot, thank you for offering your advice! How do you pick the topics you want to write about in general? Ashley C.

Start making a clipping file (you can do this as a bookmark on your browser.) just keep track of everything that interests you. After a while you can look at the file and see a pattern in the types of things you are interested in, like “climate change science.” Then you have nothing a subject AND the start of your source material. But... always footnote your sources. Everyone deserves credit. Haha Scott Corrigan

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Bruce’s Answer

You've already gotten some great advice here, so I'll be brief. Google the exact phrase "Write for us," or similar phrases. The search results will provide you with dozens of references for blogs and online publications looking for writers to provide content either on subjects you're interested in or on subjects they define. Either way, you'll have the chance to research and create a piece that will get published and can then be added to your portfolio. One word of caution, though: Invariably, many of these opportunities will not be paid opportunities, which doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't pursue them--at this point, you need a portfolio more than you need money--but you should gravitate towards paid opportunities *always,* and you should stop providing your writing talent for free as soon as you possibly can. In fact, many would say you should never write without getting paid, but it's a competitive field, so you may have to compromise--temporarily, of course.

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geny’s Answer

Everybody wants to be a writer, a model, a singer etc...I know because I did too. At 89 years of age I published many items. Google my name geny heywood and see. I was paid but only pennies. I would have starved without other working pay checks. Many publishing houses will accept your work, the problem is that you might not get much royalties, people do not read much and instead of buying the books they get info on the net. That is great anyway, it is knowledge acquired.
My advise to you Ashley is: KEEP ON WRITING (and reading) while making a living any other way you can. Think of the dignity of labor, take any job that will put food on your table since waiting for the royalties to fall in your bank account might take a long time. Keep on going, you will make it, life will surprise you. Good luck! geny h

Thank you for your personal experience as someone that has been published. It's very valuable. So your royalties were low? That's sad to hear. I hope you have better success in the future, it sounds like you deserve it. Ashley C.

Thank you Ashley! keep dreaming but just in case dreams do not materialize entirely, work at any job that teaches you something new and gives you a pay check. One good outcome in my life is that even when I had no equity of any kind, I listened to my banker. EVERY bank in the world has at least one free counselor. Those are people who know that without the words cash, pay check , bonuses, interests, returns, investments, hard work, savings...we would be very poor and we would starve. Hard work and a pay checks are needed to keep you going. It's NOT HOW MUCH YOU EARN THAT COUNTS, IT'S HOW MUCH YOU SAVE... Good luck. geny h geny heywood

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Kathleen’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

I’m assuming you are possibly a high school student? There are a lot of great ways to establish a portfolio. Yes, a blog is one of them, but getting involved with a school newspaper is also an excellent option.

I have friends who were journalism grads in college that succeeded in successful careers as sports journalists, news or editorial writers, and even someone who turned his journalism career into his passion as a theater critic.

I wanted to be a TV journalist and got involved in the campus radio station when I was in college. There are plenty of other opportunities to use use your skills too - the point is to use them! I highly recommend internships, as well. Apply for opportunities at local TV stations, newspapers, anywhere that enables you to get relevant experience and that provides you something for your portfolio. Mine was in a TV studio.

My other piece of advice is don’t ignore the basics — things like spelling and grammar, geography, history, research skills — all of these are extremely valuable in your career. Having a command of the basics is essential — even in my career now. As a hiring manager, I’ve gone through resumes looking for “the basics” like spelling — don’t let spelling or grammar be a detractor.

My other piece of advice is to be a lifelong learner. Technology is constantly changing - as it has in my own career. Don’t ever assume that you know everything - always strive to learn more - always strive to seek actual verifiable facts. Don’t assume anything.

I’ve had a successful career in international and national news media. I’ve written for global B2B magazines and have also written a book. If there is anything more I would want to pass along is to love what you do and always strive to learn more, know more, and deliver your best work.