I decided to write this article because I have do not think there is enough about helping people break into writing like there is for artists or other types of freelancers. While it is not easy, there are places that can help. I say this now to help you avoid a lot of the stress I suffered.
Like a lot of graduates I struggled for a while to get work. It didn’t help that I studied English and Media, something that employers often consider to be code for “this man is a work shy lay about”. I applied for a lot of jobs, got work experience at a magazine, did all I could to “break in.”
I came close on a few jobs, including the last ten for an internship at a local newspaper and down to the last three for a creative advertising role at a radio station. What clearly stood against me was that I lacked experience. However, how was I supposed to get experience without getting a job?
So like a lot of people the jobs I took were “not my life’s work.” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with paying the bills. If you are someone who writes fiction, I think it is a good way of getting experiences. For example, one script I wrote for my comic was based on the neon orange gunk (that was supposed to be a drink) that came out of the office vending machine.
Fortunately things have got better for me recently, thanks to some good advice and recommendations. There are a few basic steps that can help you get more writing experience and thus more writing work (these are based on my real experiences).
- Do your research- If you are applying for work experience or a job application, make sure you do your homework. Ideally if you know who is interviewing find out what you can about them personally. People are impressed if you go into more detail.
- Reference material- For people who want to be published you should look for listing on the internet, relevant magazines and contact list books. Some also give submission guidelines.
- Community projects- A good way of building experience is to work in community projects. For example you may want to get together with local amateur dramatic theatre societies or student film makers. This can then be added to your resume.
- Do some things for free- Contributing to some websites will help you work on how to structure articles and help you build up your confidence with writing.
- Be open to feedback- If someone offers you feedback be open to it. This doesn’t mean doing everything that people suggest to you, but you should be prepared to work on improving your writing style.
- Be careful when applying for freelance sites- Some freelance sites will make certain claims of amounts you can earn, but only if you buy credits, have a premium paid for account and so forth. Sites like London Brokers are best because they are free to sign up for and pay you for your work.
- Keep your eyes open for opportunities- People are often looking for copy writers for a number of projects. One of the oddest ones I’ve done is commissioned fan fiction. However make sure you have a clear agreement so that you know what the person wants and you have a clear payment structure when the work is completed.
In short, there are no shortcuts to riches from writing. However the opportunities are out there if you are prepared to look for them and apply yourself in a positive way.