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How To Create A Writing Portfolio
As a freelance writer, one of the best ways to attract new writing work is to show off examples of work you’ve already done. When I started out in journalism, that meant rigorously collecting copies of every newspaper, newsletter, journal or magazine in which I had a bylined piece (and even, in the early days, some pieces that weren’t bylined). I cut them out, put them in a scrapbook and lugged that around with me every time I went for an interview. Things are easier now.
Since most of my work is now done online, I now collect links to my work. I usually have the original articles stored on my hard drive and backed up to an external source. Even with offline publishing, it’s a simple matter to scan the article in and create a PDF. But how do I make this collection of writing and blogging credits make sense to anyone?
I faced this issue recently, as I was moving my main business site from doublehdesign.com to sharonhurleyhall.com. I looked at a lot of writers’ sites to see what they did. Here’s what I found:
Some writers chose one example of each kind of writing they did and included it as an article on their site or blog.
Some writers made PDF or Word samples available for download or viewing.
Some writers said they would provide samples on request.
Some writers listed all their stuff so potential customers could find what they needed.
That last approach was the one that made most sense to me, but when I listed all my stuff, the list was long, so I decided to make it more reader friendly. The result of that was my new resume page, which lists my skills, the topics on which I’m an expert (with links to examples), as well as other topics and examples of writing. At the end I give a short summary of my education and career.
I chose to do it that way because I figure that if people are looking for a writer, then the first thing they want to know is what you can write. Of course, as a ghostwriter, I can’t show examples of everything I’ve written, but I have an answer for that, too.
If you are a skilled writer, then why not do another version of an article or an ebook chapter that you’re particularly proud of? You won’t be flouting your ghostwriting contract, but you will be showing what you can do.
My writing portfolio is a work in progress, as I am adding to it all the time. It’s not really practical to have a blog page that goes on forever, so eventually I might have to create a page for each category and link to it on the main page. How have you handled your writing portfolio? I’d love to hear your tips and the reasons why your writing portfolio looks the way it does.