Inspired by a recent conversation I had with an aspiring journalist, I wanted to jot down the following tips for anyone interested in becoming a freelance writer or journalist.
1. WRITE EVERY DAY!!! The best advice I ever received from a college professor was to write at least one page of a journal entry every single day. Getting in the habit of writing down your stream of consciousness thoughts is a great way to get in the zone for whatever type of writing career you’re interested in pursuing. Then publish them on a blog so the world can see them (point #4).
2. Read published work every day. Here are links to the “top 5” online news sites that I think are worth taking a look at:
In addition to these, checking out the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today (top three circulated newspapers in the U.S.) would be beneficial as well. Christianity Today is where I started my career and has the best faith-based news in the world.
3. Reach out to writers you admire. Like I mentioned, if you read some articles you like or find a reporter whose writing is especially compelling, feel free to email them directly and ask about their career. There’s no downside to networking in that way!!
4. Create a platform for your work. Launch a website with a blog component. wordpress, wix, and weebly have free platforms for launching web portfolios and websites. Contently is a great site to upload your published work to after you have a few clips under your belt. Re: my work, here’s a link to (most) all of the journalistic articles I’ve written to date: https://ajsteinke.contently.com/. My favorite article is The Hope Dealers of Honduras, an investigative piece I did about anti-trafficking initiatives in Honduras. I was also able to interview a bunch of worship leaders and ministry leaders from various places–Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and Christine Caine are some of my favorites.
5. Go live on social media and NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Instagram are all platforms you want to be active on to get your name out there and start networking with writers you admire. LinkedIn is also essential. In graduate school one tip I received was to connect with 5 new connections every single day until you reach 500+. Even then, continue to be active on that platform. Most job opportunities will come from “weak ties” in your network–that is, people who know who you know.
Also, do NOT let the “imposter syndrome” get you down. You have your own unique set of gifts and passions that God gave you so live life to the fullest! As Saint Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
What did I miss?? Feel free to leave your own tips in the comments section below!
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