Yesterday I emailed my newsletter to about 100 people (I found one typo today. It bugged me because I edited the newsletter noticed the misplaced sentence and still left it there. I need a second pair of eyes to double check everything before I save it. It's all an education for me. One typo won't kill me and I will do better next time). It's a networking method for me. It allows me to work on my writing/creative skills, network with those on my email list (friends, associates, family, editors, other writers, etc.) and publish myself. It's all about building my portfolio and gaining exposure. The goal is to start my own multi-media firm specializing in PR, consultations for aspiring writers and artists, and I also want to publish books-beginning with my own. Additionally, I would like to produce plays via my company. That would be lovely! Entrepreneurship and full-time freelancing is where it is at!
I've had a few people ask me for writing advice and how to get their work out there. I plan on addressing all of those people personally so that I can give them specifics as to what they can do for whatever writing medium they pursue. I don't consider myself an expert-yet. However, I have been writing for 16 years (The Pillowcase was written when I was 12). Please note: I still consider myself in the beginning stages of my career as a writer (and actor). I am still trying to find my way. That's why I have been venturing out and trying new things like comedic writing. I haven't been published nationally-yet. But, here is what I have found out through my pitching, querying and just trying to find my place in the world of literature and communications.
1. Write. Write. Write. You need as many writing samples under your belt as possible. Build your portfolio with as many writing pieces as you can. My portfolio consists of collateral pieces such as fliers, brochures, invitations, booklets, press releases, poems, short stories and the manuscripts I have written. Your experience can also include blogging. I have been blogging for three years-if you are going to blog make sure to do it often.
2. Become an expert. Become an expert in whatever subject you want to write about. I currently work as a Marketing Assistant (yep, my internship finally hired me in-yay! Actually, it officially happens September 1st. But, five months of hard work paid off) in the medical industry so my portfolio consists of pieces related to that field. However, I would like to specialize in theatrical writing (PR/marketing and promotion of theater and reviews) so I have my theater pieces from college in my portfolio. But, if you want to write about issues relating to jewelry or architecture, become an expert in that subject so that you can standout in a saturated industry of writers. If you are a creative writer you want to read books by authors who write the genre you are interested in and become an expert in storytelling in that style of writing (please remember to always find your own voice because originality is also what is going to help you ultimately land a book deal).
3. Network. Network. Network. If you don't already know this and I have to be brutally honest with you- It's not necessarily or entirely what you know, but who you know. So, if you don't know anyone GET TO KNOW IMPORTANT PEOPLE RELEVANT TO YOUR CAREER. Attend writing seminars, use social media to learn about different writing events and conventions catered to writers, query editors and agents.
4. Make sure to purchase valuable tools. Purchase Writer's Market guides to help you navigate your way through the crazy world of media, books and everything literature.
5. Educate yourself. This could include going to school. I have a bachelor's degree in Journalism and it has given me a foundation to identify a story and tell it. It's also given me an idea of how to pitch a story and the vehicle to use to get it published. But, more importantly, I have found the older I get and the more life experiences I have the better writer I become. Living life is the best education.
6. Create your own experiences. Do not wait for other people to create experiences for you. Do it yourself! I created, write, edit and distribute my own newsletter. It's not easy but if you want something you do it. If you write a poem don't just sit on it and not share it-send it out to everyone on your email contacts list. If you write a story send it out to all of your friends on Facebook. Brand yourself!!!!
7. Don't give up! You have to be fearless when you decide to be a writer or any type of artist. You have to be EXTREMELY persistent because it is hard to get your work noticed. HARD! Editors are busy. Agents want to know what's so special about you that they should represent you. Publishers have a million manuscripts on their desks. Trust that I know how hard it is. I want to quit everyday-but you can't and if you love writing like I do, you won't.
Sidebar: My internships have been INVALUABLE tools for my career. I have met so many people via these experiences, built my portfolio and grown as a writer because of the mentorships that these internships provide. If you have the resources, time and opportunity to do one-DO IT!
Every time I learn something I plan on sharing it on my blog. I hope that reading my blog is a learning experience for whoever reads it. I am going through the whole process with you guys and the intent is to write about the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can have an idea of what to expect. I hope it helps!