You’ve decided you want to start writing for magazines, but without experience and clips to highlight that experience, you find it difficult to break into the business. How can you possibly gain exposure and experience if no one will hire you without those two things?
Thankfully, there is a solution: volunteer your writing.
Don’t like the idea of working for free to get your foot in the door? Keep in mind that volunteering your time or work isn’t a new idea. High School students volunteer their time in order to pad their college applications and academic resumes. College students accept internships (often without pay) in order to build a strong resume and gain necessary experience.
Working for free to build a resume or portfolio and gain experience is a solid and often necessary route to success, but by no means is it the only route. If you can secure paid work, go for it. In fact, I’d say it’s a good idea to submit to both paying and non-paying markets. Knock on as many doors as you can. I’m simply suggesting you open your mind to the idea of accepting a few non-paying jobs to get started.
Writing is work, hard work, and we should be compensated for our time as well as our bodies of work. Volunteering your writing is simply another opportunity with a plethora of possible outcomes.
Here are five compelling reasons why you should consider writing for free in the beginning of your freelance writing career:
For the Exposure- With exposure, you’ll begin building a reputation.
The more you put out there, the more familiar you’ll become to readers and bloggers.
For the Experience- Every time you write a blog post or an article, you gain valuable experience. Getting paid or not does not diminish that experience, or all the lessons learned with each project. In fact, experience is exactly what you need to get paid, or at least to get paid well.
For the opportunity to experiment- Writing for blogs and websites allows you to experiment with different styles of writing and subjects and helps you to discover what you enjoy.
For the possibility of paid work- When your blog post or article is published, it will be read by hundreds if not thousands of people, and any number of those readers may be editors or bloggers who are inclined to offer you a paying job writing for their magazine or blog.
The possibilities are numerous.
For creating a portfolio- It’s often challenging to find paying gigs when you aren’t able to tangibly show an editor any of your work because you haven’t been published yet. But once you have a couple of clips and samples of your writing, you’re better equipped to approach paid opportunities with confidence.
Volunteering your article or story for a blog or website is simple. Check the “contribute” or “submissions” page on blogs and websites and follow the directions to send a pitch. That’s it! Be professional and always submit your best work.
Don’t discount your own blog or website as a valuable place to build your portfolio. That’s the ultimate self-employment!
Writing for magazines, e-zines, websites and blogs can be fun and monetarily lucrative, but getting your foot (or your pen!) in the door can take a bit of time and patience.
Be creative and persistent and you will find success.