This past week, I pitched and successfully submitted an article, which was NOT:
- for one of my school’s publications
- on one of my blogs
- for an internship, paid or unpaid
It was also not for a job. So why I am happy about this?
It’s called contributing. When you contribute to a publication, you provide quality pieces in exchange for a byline, experience, and a clip to add to your portfolio.
- Why the heck should I care? Portfolios aren’t just for writers! If you’re interested in a subject unrelated to your major/career of choice, it’s a great way to show employers and committees that you’re well-rounded. If it is related to your major/potential career, it provides more expertise by giving you more experience writing about topics relevant your job. Plus, contributing is done on your free time, which shows others that you’re passionate about a variety of interests.
- Okay. So where can I contribute? Contribution articles can go to online magazines, print publications, blogs, etc. If there are publications you’re interested in, there is usually information on how to pitch articles in the “Contact” section. Keep an eye out for new publications which typically need new writers when they’re just starting out. (Like this one)
- But what do I write about?! I think you have two choices: either write about something you’re an expert on or something you’re interested in. The first allows you to show your expertise and teach others. The latter helps you enjoy what you’re writing as well as perfecting your research skills to ensure all of your facts are correct. (The same rules apply when starting your own blog too)
- Can I just blog instead? In fact, blogging is similar to contributing in that you’re writing about something you love in your free time! You learn about deadlines, SEO content, and the responsibility of fact-checking (always, always triple-check your facts!). The main difference is that when contributing, you’re writing on someone else’s platform and have to follow their style rules. The trade-off, of course, is that when contributing, you’re more likely to have more readers at the start.
- And if my writing’s not good enough? Blasphemy! You’ve made it this far by being able to communicate; trust me, your pieces are going to be great. Plus, the more you write, the more you’ll improve–learning your publication’s style, finding your blogger voice–it takes time, which means there’s no better time to start than now. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need advice (email’s on the About Me Page).
And you probably don’t care, but here’s my most recent piece about August Stargazing–you can catch the Perseid Meteor Shower tonight, which is so bright, you don’t need a telescope!
The magazine I contribute to is a new online, Canadian-based publication for young professionals. RATSmagazine needs contributors for STEM, Lifestyle, and Canadian News. You can inquire about that through here. And for other recommendations for student writers, you can look at this USA Today article.
Ash M. Monty
[Imported from http://www.montysmayhem.blogspot.com ]