The old saying that we create our own luck has a lot of merit when it comes to breaking into the publishing industry.
Just looking back at my own history in professional writing I can see where I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time but I had what was needed to make that luck happen. If I had not completed my BA in Journalism then I would not have been offered my first freelance writing opportunity. From that one I got the next and the ball rolled on.
When I look back I did make good choices to have myself in the right place at the right time too, although at the time, I didn't know just how well I was positioning myself.
But that's been one of the key lessons in life, you've got to give things a go to let opportunities happen and doors open.
With the current growth in online media and the opportunities this offers the chances to make your own luck is easier and more accessible than ever.
It's never been easier to make your own creative portfolio, whether that be writing, photography, painting, design and get it out into the world to build your own following and name to create your own niche in the industry.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this is with your own blog where you can showcase your writing with interesting articles that are published regularly, allowing you to develop a portfolio of pieces that demonstrate your range of writing skills.
A blog lets you showcase and promote whatever type of writing you're into from journalistic, creative writing, professional writing, humourous writing, children's writing, social observations, autobiographical - even a combination of these.
7 Blogging Tips to Create a Successful Creative Portfolio
Starting a blog is easy and fast. The first is to figure out what you want to achieve initially and in the next 6 - 12 months. Here are 7 points to consider:
1. What is the blog to achieve for you - get you a permanent employee job, freelance writing jobs, making enough money so you can work regularly on your own novel, your own successful online business, giving you the opportunity to publish your work easily and without other gatekeepers? It will probably be a combination of goals rather than just one. Having a big picture idea of what you want to achieve helps you stay focused and lets you get what you want.
2. Do you want to earn money through advertising on the blog - Google Ads, Affiliate links and selling advertisements on the site - and if so, what sort of money do you want to be earning as this will influence how commercial you'll make the site. Starting just with Google Ads can be a good way to start seeing some advertising income come in. Remember, the traffic that you can generate to your site will also make a real difference to the advertising income you can earn. Making a financially successful website that demonstrates your writing skills can give you more choices that you had thought about.
3. Look at other blogs that you like and note down what you like about them and what you don't like about them. You'll start to see that you can have both blog style pages as well as static pages like Contact (so publishers can contact you) and About Us (great place for your bio). Getting ideas from other blogs is a great way to design both the look and feel of your blog as well as the site architecture (the structure of the pages).
4. What do you want to write about? Do you want to keep it to a niche market or make it broad? This will have a lot to do about what you're passionate about. Look at Treehugger - it is a niche market blog about green issues that has a really broad scope giving the author a huge range of topics to write about. It also gives him a really big audience that is growing so it is easier for him to earn advertising income. Remember, advertisers like traffic. You can start off with one specific topic in a broad area and grow with time into other areas. Just think of Sass and Bide, they started with making high fashion jeans and now have collections covering casual to party.
5. How frequently do you want to write? Are you doing this part time or full time? How many articles do you want to have published in what time frame? Many high traffic blogs have well written articles that are published only every 3 - 4 weeks. Other very successful blogs have 2 - 6 articles published a week. If you want to quickly build up content publishing multiple articles a week will give you a heap of content quickly to get you going. The more content you have the more hooks you have out in the internet to bring visitors (that's traffic) to your site. You can also write some articles for later publishing. So if you're in the writing flow and can get six stories done one day you can save five of them for publishing during your really busy weeks when you run out of time to write.
6. What happens with successful blogs and websites is they give you opportunities that you hadn't even considered about in your old life. Where a blog goes in the second year or the opportunities it brings about can lead you into new areas. Just think about the movie "Sliding Doors". Our choices lead us in different directions that we couldn't have imagined if something else had happened. Don't hold on too tightly to knowing exactly what will happen in 12 months once you've started something new. Do keep hold of what is important to you and your values.
7. What blog tool do you want to use? WordPress.org offers arguably the best choice in blog technology and it's free! WordPress lets you have the static pages (for Contact and About Us etc), great free templates that make it really easy to publish your work quickly and a lot of free online help with samples. You can host your blog with them or download their software for hosting with your own host provider.
It's best to gather your ideas clearly by writing down your thoughts and answers to these questions. Keep a note book with you for these ideas, story ideas, contact details for interesting people and observations and you'll find it much easier to get your blog started as it will be written down in concrete form.
Stay motivated and focused by keeping your goals clear in your mind. You can achieve whatever you set out to do.