Steps I Am Taking to Develop My Writing Portfolio

Photo by Beatriz Perez Moya

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.

Non-Profit Organizations

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!

4 thoughts on “Steps I Am Taking to Develop My Writing Portfolio”

  1. I admire the dedication you show in honing your skills. I have a question….. I was recently listening to the radio where a “celebrity” sportsperson has “written” a book and everyone goes crazy gushing over it. Does that get under your skin, or is it only me?


    1. Thank you! I am definitely working towards building specific writing skills. I am trying to be proactive with my writing career. And in regards to your question, I wanted to clarify that your frustration stems from the idea that most celebrities don’t actually write their memoirs and such? If so, I can see an issue with ghostwriters not receiving recognition for their work. My thoughts are that ghostwriters should be recognized for their writing. Putting someone else’s ideas into coherent writing sounds much more difficult than simply writing my own thoughts!


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