Why You Should Start A Blog To Expand Your Writing Portfolio
by Melody Ong. |
The most difficult thing about writing for a living is knowing where to start. Like many writers who sought to begin their journey, gliding across words as they tapped on their keyboards, I had my fair share of struggles when I first began a career in writing. Many people have told me, “You only need a writing portfolio if you want to be a freelance writer.” Huh?
That was such outdated advice, and it is arguably the most unprofessional advice anyone can give you. I’m sure for budding writers or dreamers who wish to pursue a career in writing, you’ve heard of something called a writing portfolio. The word “portfolio” seems so daunting, but let me simplify it for you. Perhaps ”blog” is the word that you’re more comfortable with. There are many types of portfolios out there, but for wordsmiths like us, a blog is a great online portfolio.
Regardless if you’re a freelance writer or a full-time writer, you MUST have a vast writing portfolio if you are looking to pursue a career in writing. Don’t just assume that only freelance writers need them— oh, you’ll need them too. On my many peregrinations of becoming a full-time writer/copy-editor, my blog has been my best asset to sell my skills. And by such luck, you have stumbled across this article where I will be sharing some simple yet effective advice with you on why you should start a blog to expand your writing portfolio.
1. To build confidence
Writing recreationally in your own free time and actually publishing pieces on an online platform for thousands to read are vastly different feelings. To show your confidence, or even build it, writing and publishing on a blog is your first step towards feeling more positive about your work. If you’re too shy to publish your writings on your blog, it simply shows that you are not comfortable with showing people your work. Perhaps there is something you’re still unsure about. If you are not confident enough to publish on your own blog where you have full power, how can you be confident in writing for others? When you reach the point of self-assurance after writing extensively on your own blog, you are ready to write for others.
2. Experience sells
Blogging fuels an adventurous heart and brings more curiosities. To me, my blog incites a sense of adventure within me. I feel the rush and excitement to travel to new places, try out new food, and experience new things. While all of these experiences enrich your life, it also helps you to sell your writing. Have you encountered a situation when your prospective employer or client asks you for a certain type of article, such as a topic about food? Look into your blog and see if you have any experience in writing about this topic — it could be a cafe review or an article on how to make pasta from scratch. These are your golden tickets to landing a job with your prospective client!
3. As a creative outlet
Think of your blog as a notepad. Writers or wordsmiths like us are creative people. We indulge ourselves in words, sentences, and stories to express ourselves and stay creative. If you’re gifted with the ability to turn words into captivating stories, use it! Write a lot, practice, and come up with your signature writing style. When you’re consistently writing on your blog, you’ll find that words and narratives come to you smoothly. Your blog will be your creative outlet to unfurl your skills as well as test out new writing styles you’ve adapted. You might find yourself deleting certain older posts you’ve published, and that is because you have grown as a writer. I’ve had my fair share of deleting my posts from time to time because my work has evolved, which shows my growth and improvement.
4. To learn new skills
Managing a blog does not only teach you how to write but also many skills that are related to it, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) writing, content management, creating web graphics, website hosting, and many more. Phew, that seems like a lot to learn along the way, doesn’t it? But rest assured: If I can start with zero knowledge in these matters and work my way up to what I’ve become today, you can too! In this age where everything is slowly turning digital, these skills will assist you and get you far in life. Not only can you offer your skills as a writer, but also your skills in managing content, niche writing, and even web design!
5. Everything is online
These days, we no longer carry a physical folder of our works around with us. Everything is kept within a link for easy access—this is where a blog comes in handy. Putting your pieces on your blog ensures that your work is easily accessible by you and your clients/employers. Aside from that, if you have the itch to edit something quickly before meeting a prospective client, you can just log in and make the relevant edits regardless of where you are. I have a section on my blog that is dedicated to my published works, where prospects can view them easily and I have direct access to them without needing to go through my computer to retrieve a specific article.
There are so many more reasons why you should start a blog, but these five points are key reasons why you must have your own blog today. Now that you have found your purpose in starting a blog and you have some pieces on standby, how can you start to expand your blog or portfolio?
1. Find a niche
Before you post your works online, understanding what you are marvellous at is one of the most important parts of blogging. If you have an interest in cooking, centre your focus around food, recipes, and cooking-related topics. There’s so much to talk about once you have established your own niche or speciality. All these topics are written for different audiences. For example, a cafe review appeals to people who love to explore new cafes, while a recipe post will appeal to those who love to cook at home. Your niche and topic will help you to decide what type of writing style you can experiment with. But if you do not have a niche, fret not! Your blog is entirely yours to play around with. Don’t worry and just have fun writing whatever you want.
2. Start writing and posting consistently
Now your blog is up and running, you have an interesting topic, but you’re missing something. Doesn’t it look a little empty? Time to plug in your creative juices and make your first post. You can even import your previous works into your current blog. Remember, the blog is yours and it is up to you what you want to write. The client is you. Aside from your work, write constantly, and keep it updated. A good way to keep our blog healthy and active is to post at least once a week, or any schedule you deem fit. More writings mean more examples to show to potential clients!
3. Feed your blog with various writings
Don’t limit yourself to only one style of writing. I have written short stories, poems, wordy articles, and even short articles on my blog. Although they aren’t published professionally, I have enjoyed writing them and if there is a need to show them as examples, they are part of my repertoire. Always prepare an umbrella before it rains. Don’t wait until your clients ask you for a certain type of article before you rush to get it written.
Now that you have found your purpose in starting a blog as well as the follow-through steps on implementing and expanding your writing portfolio, you are ready to take the literary world by storm. A blog should ignite your curiosity and be the reason why you crave to write and create. Think of your blog not only as your portfolio but also as a motivation tool that brings you closer to your dreams and career goals.
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