Write from the Depths of Your Soul

I just read an amazing inspirational piece about writing something that is uniquely yours and as far from cliché as possible. The only way I can summarize it is to say this:

Write from the depths of your soul. Dig deeper and forget about everything else you have ever read or written before. Search within yourself for something that no one else can unleash. Let it be raw and unexpected. Don’t do what has already been done.

“Write what’s real and true to you. That’s what stories are made of.”

“The Write Stuff” by Charlene Teglia is highly worthy of link love.

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Using Multiple Freelance Writing Portfolios

Providing high quality samples of your work is a crucial element in gaining new business. While having a single portfolio can be extremely beneficial, having more than one portfolio can be a good idea, too.

Writers who take on a variety of writing projects can benefit from having separate portfolios. As a versatile writer myself, I have a diverse portfolio with individual samples that represent the range of styles I can provide. I plan to expand it, and separate academic writing form copywriting and sales, as well as apart from web article writing and newsletters.

I have found that not having a collection of samples from particular niches that I am quite capable of doing has hindered my ability to attract certain clients. I do have a range of samples, however, if a majority of my samples are different from the style that a client is looking for, they tend to move on to the next writer. I may very well have a single sample that is close to what they might be looking for, but two or three samples is always more reassuring to a buyer.

It makes sense to have groups of samples that reflect each type of writing separately. Buyers who are looking for a professional tone are not interested in seeing conversational style article on dating. A potential client looking for friendly and engaging blog posts don’t want to see technical reports. I think having mini portfolios that appeal specifically to certain buyers is a smart move, and I plan to take it. (I’m always looking for ways to improve.)

What is your portfolio like? Do you have a range of individual samples for different kinds of writing, or do you have sections with multiple samples for each type of writing? Do you have multiple portfolios?

Build your writing portfolio with blogs

One great way to build credibility and showcase the quality of your writing is through blogging. If you regularly post quality articles about a topic you enjoy writing about, you are providing yourself with a multitude of samples. If you don’t already have a blog, I encourage you to start one. I would also encourage you to do guest posts for other blogs as well. Having posts on other people’s blogs can show clients that your writing is recognized as valuable.

You may not earn a direct income from blogging, but it certainly opens doors for your business. Having fresh posts will boost your search engine ranking. Take your time and deliver quality. Potential clients will read your blog, so there is no sense in being careless with it. Take advantage of the opportunity to impress them. If you are interested in writing for a particular industry, focus your blog on related subject matter as a way to prove that you know something. A blog is your opportunity to create articles on topics you love to write about, and can lead to clients who need writing on that subject.

If there is more than one niche that you are interested in writing for, create a blog for each. Maintaining a quality blog will take time and effort, and you will have to make time for it while you work on paying projects. It is well worth the time as you are creating a dynamic portfolio of pieces that can lure new business. Be sure that you can post twice a week at a minimum, and keyword optimize your writing.

A blog can enhance your portfolio, which should also include any other type of writing that you possess the skills to produce. Make sure you feature only your best work. Don’t take blogging for granted, because it can ultimately lead to writing jobs.

Writer’s Portfolio Building Step by Step

There is a good article on eHow offering a step by step guide to building a writer’s portfolio. Here are the basics:

1. Categorize your work.

2. Select your best work in each category of writing that you do.

3. Proofread, edit, and repeat.

4. Select a style of portfolio.

5. Arrange your work in an organized and professional manner.

more details here

Freelance Writing Portfolio: Electronic or Hard copy?

A freelance writer can benefit from having both a hard copy and an online portfolio. Both types should showcase only a writer’s best work, particularly pieces that have been chosen for publication or have won contests. In either type or writer’s portfolio, include the publication information if the work has been sold.

One of the major differences with an online writer’s portfolio is that you can link to items published on the web. Having a single page website dedicated to the portfolio can give it a professional edge. With these, you can upload files with thumbnail images and give the portfolio a nice professional edge.

A hard copy portfolio should contain clean copies of quality work on quality paper. A professional case is important to have as well. You can organize the work by genre, date, word length, or subject matter, but make sure it is organized. You may also want to include a resume so that prospects can not only see past projects but other work experience and credentials that can improve your overall professional image.

Having both types of portfolios prepared can open up job opportunities. If you limit yourself to only a hard copy or only an online portfolio, you can fail to sell yourself at your best in a live presentation or an online application. Prepare both and keep them updated. Remember to only add your best work.

Writer’s Portfolio Building: Non-profit work

If you are a new writer with a heart and you are looking to expand your portfolio, try doing some charity work. You can volunteer your writing services to a community organization or a non-profit organization in your local area. It helps if you truly care about the cause, because it will make you feel good inside, in addition to bulking up your portfolio. You can create ads, articles, and/or press releases to promote the organization, or even write copy for flyers to advertise an upcoming event. If you would like, you can offer them discounted on services for extended work, and build a long term relationship with them.

It is great to give back to your community, and it may even turn into a business deal. They may even refer you to other organizations of a similar mind. Check online, drive around town, and check in your local newspaper for opportunities. Writing for charity and non-profit organizations is a great way to network and expand your portfolio at the same time.

Portfolio Building With Mock Projects

Create mock project samples to build your portfolio. Browse project postings and try to do what the project description is asking for as if the job is yours. It is a great way to practice your skills, and to build your portfolio. (I also use this method when I want to apply to a project when I don’t have a specific sample to offer. I also ask if clients would like me to create a fresh custom sample for them to see my work. If I don’t get the job, I can still use it in my portfolio, but that usually sells my services.) It works best if there are specific details described.

Even if you don’t intend to apply to the specific projects that you create samples for, project listings can be a wealthy resource of topic ideas, and it can help you expand your view of the different type of projects you can try in the future. It is a good way to bulk up your portfolio and practice your skills.

Try something new

Are you trying to build a killer portfolio? Apply to a variety of jobs. There are informative articles, technical articles, web pages, sales letters, brochures, research assignments, white papers, business plans, blogs, and a host of other types of projects to apply to. Whenever you complete a certain type of project, add it to your portfolio. (Remember to ask about disclosure as a courtesy to the client, or make a template-like example of the work.) This is a very good idea at the beginning, but once you find your niche, you can focus on doing two or three main types of work.

It is a good idea to display samples that are of the highest quality you have in a few niche areas. My focus is web content/web article writing, so I have more than two samples of those items. I also have a press release, an essay, a blog, sales writing, and news-writing displayed. Buyers like to hire specialists more than they like to hire a jack-of-all-trades. Even though your focus may be in one area, clients will ask if you can do other things. You won’t limit yourself by picking a focus, you will actually enhance your attractiveness as a professional. At the same time, don’t be afraid to try something new and expand your offerings.

Building your portfolio project by project

Once you start to get work, you can always ask your clients if they will allow you to display the work in your portfolio or use is it as a sample of your writing. Some clients don’t mind, while others might not want you to do this. If you have to sign a NDA, non-disclosure agreement, don’t even ask. Sometimes, you can omit the client’s information from the document, and replace it with “Company Name” or, http://www.companywebsite.com so the quality of your work can be displayed without revealing your connection to the client.

Use your judgment. If the client has hired you as a ghostwriter, chances are they don’t want you to show anyone the work you do for them. When in doubt, just ask.

Portfolio Building With Writer’s Workshops

As a freelance writer it is extremely helpful to have a diverse portfolio. In the beginning, it is rather difficult to develop samples when you do not have very much experience.

One way to bulk up your portfolio is to take a writing workshop. Once place to find online writing workshops is the Writer’s Digest website. There are other websites that you can go to, but that was the first one I ever noticed. Not only can you learn how to be a better writer in a specific style of writing, but you will get feedback from an expert. You can use the products from your workshops in your portfolio.

You may also be able to find live local writer’s workshops in your area. That way, not only will you add pieces to your portfolio, but you will have the benefit of live critique that can really help you grow as a writer.

If you are interested in a specific genre, or want to try a new genre, workshops are really beneficial, and worth the money. Even if you have been writing for a while, it is always good to expand your skills, and hear different perspectives on your writing. It will keep you sharp. I highly recommend signing up for a quality workshop to build your portfolio.

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