I am happy to report that our little house in the country, once again, has internet. The stubbornly optimistic side of me overpowered the millennial part of me – I actually wasn’t too upset we went so long without internet. I honestly think I even enjoyed the detachment from the outside world. I was able to catch up on some reading and writing on the hammock during my afternoons, which is always a plus. I also saw this period as an opportunity to take some quiet time and re-evaluate my writing priorities.
During this resting period, I realized that I am in a position where my day job is relaxed enough for me to focus on writing in my off hours. Acknowledging this fact lit a fire under me in a way as I have no legitimate excuse not to dive into writing more fully. While I have been incorporating more writing into my life consistently over the past two years, it is only in recent weeks that I have decided to work on building a portfolio.
My intention is to have a collection of my work that I can use when (eventually) seeking payment for my writing. Setting this intention is a big move for me as it marks a defined step in my transition into a writing career. I wasn’t sure where to start when it came to building a writing portfolio, so I considered the following question to guide me: what is my main writing goal at this stage in my life?
I found this question much easier to answer than it had been in the past. After learning more about blogging and other forms of online media, I would love to do freelance work writing and/or editing blog posts, articles, and stories for different publications. I am of course still starting out with Paper Crow blog and recognize I need to get some experience under my belt.
I brainstormed ways to get experience both writing and editing and landed on the idea of volunteering. In my previous career paths, volunteering has been a great way to break into a field. You get experience with the work without the pressures that come along with being an employee.
There are surprisingly a fair number of volunteer writing opportunities which turn up in a quick Google search. Non-profits in particular are by nature limited in funding and therefore have a large volume of volunteer positions open.
I contacted a few of these and have heard back from two organizations so far. One, The Mind Reset, scheduled an onboarding with me within a few days of my inquiry. I have already written a post for them, which you can check out here. I am particularly excited about this non-profit’s themes of mental health and community support, as these subjects are deeply personal to me.
A second organization is in the process of scheduling a phone meeting with me next week to discuss an opportunity for creative writing related to environmental topics. I am hoping to be on their volunteer list as well as I would love the chance to incorporate some of their environmental research into the writing.
Volunteering with Literary Magazines
I have also started the process of reaching out to various literary magazines, offering to be a volunteer reader and/or editor for their “slush” pile. The requirements for volunteering with literary magazines seem a bit more stringent, and I am working on creating a more thorough cover letter for these positions.
My hope for working with a literary magazine is that I will get the chance to be immersed in the writing of others and to also practice editing skills on a structural level. I also think of it as a wonderful way to network with other writers and help each other out.
These steps will hopefully guide me towards a career in writing one day. I am still on the lookout for even more opportunities to expand my writing portfolio. Any tips and suggestions in the comment section are appreciated!