by Priscilla Y. Huff
Before approaching editors and/or publishers with an articles or book ideas, you should have garnered several published pieces or “clips” that demonstrate that you are qualified to write a coherent sentence or two.
What if you do not have any published samples of your writing?
Here are eleven suggestions:
Write a feature for your local organizations’ or clubs’ or college’s publications. Most organizations have regular newsletters for their members and usually welcome contributing writers.
Write press releases for your local library’s showcase of crafts or events.
Volunteer a column. As an amateur naturalist, I volunteered to write a monthly nature column, with photos and with related Bible verses for my church’s Sunday school newsletter.
Write a blog based on your profession and/or interest.
Enter writing contests.
Write a “Letter to an Editor” for a well-known magazine or newspaper.
Contribute how-to tips to publications’ featured departments.
Look for on- and off-line small literary publications that welcome new writers to add a story or non-fiction piece.
Write a web article for a person’s web site or a “guest” contribution for a person’s blog who is in your professional network.
Write reviews of products, books, movies, or other items for related Internet forums.
Build or do it and feature it. Bake or make a recipe, craft, or project from plans offered in a magazine. Photograph you and your completed task and send it into the publication with a written description.
Note: Keep a list of the Internet links of any of your posted published pieces for editors’ quick online reviews. These are just a few of the many ways to get those first published clips that will help you get that paying writing gig or book contract. Photocopy and print them out for your own portfolio.