With so much information out there, it can be hard to narrow down how to create your writing portfolio. The task itself may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re at the beginning of your writing career. Whether you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer or you just want to get your best pieces out there, we’ve got seven great tips to get you started on curating a creative portfolio.
To get an inside view as to what goes into making a writing portfolio, we sat down and spoke with our Assistant Editor at Bookstr, Emilee Calametti. With over six years of writing experience, Emilee knows a thing or two about how to make the best possible writer’s portfolio that truly stands out.
But first, what is a writing portfolio?
At its core, a writing portfolio is the collection of a writer’s best work. Combined with your own flair and a contact page, this is the ultimate resource for how to gain freelancing opportunities or a place to showcase your writing.
“You want it to display who you are and the work you’re proud of. Make sure you have an ‘About Me’ section, display your work, and methods of contact! Be creative! Resumes can be boring, but portfolios don’t have to be.”Emilee Calametti
If you’re heading into the creative field, especially as a writer, having a portfolio is a must! Now, let’s take a look at seven tips to make the process of creating a writing portfolio easier.
1. Narrow Down Your Niche
Before you start collecting your favorite pieces or even browse through potential portfolio websites, the first thing you’ll want to do is think about your niche. What inspires you? What type of writing do you like the most? Do you have a specific style? These are all questions you want to ask yourself before you do anything else. Once you have these questions pinned down, it will be significantly easier to present your work in a way that represents you.
If you’re having trouble narrowing things down, lean into that! Diversity in your writing doesn’t have to be negative. According to Emilee, this can actually strengthen both your skills and show future employers that you have a diverse repertoire when it comes to your writing.
“I’ve had a variety of writing jobs over my six years. It wasn’t until last year I really figured out what I wanted to focus on– Entertainment writing. I’ve done breaking news, blog writing, copywriting, creative writing, grant writing, academic writing– I’ve even started writing a novel. I’ve come to realize that my personality is very loud and so is my voice. I have always wanted to have an impact on people with my writing, which meshes well with entertainment writing. It also helped me with my portfolio, because I love fun colors and fun pieces and the designing aspect is kind of the best part. You can definitely see who I am based on my portfolio.”Emilee Calametti
Your niche doesn’t have to stay the same forever. If your writing style changes throughout the years, then so should your portfolio. The best way to present your work is by being true to yourself.
2. Think About Your Audience
Similar to deciding your niche, you should also think about who you’re marketing yourself to. Your audience can be future clients, employers, contemporaries, yourself, or a mix of things.
If you’re trying to get work as a freelance writer, a more professional approach will be beneficial. But if you want to show off your writing to friends, family, or for personal use, you might lean towards the creative side. In the case that you have a variety of writing samples, you may want to look into creating multiple portfolios for different audiences.
“I actually have a few portfolios that I use depending on which writing job I am going after. This saves me time during the pitching process or application process (depending on what kind of position it is). It’s like having multiple resumes.”Emilee Calametti
You also get to have some power over who your audience will be. Take on clients that have the same interests as you. Not only will you be able to build a relationship with your clientele, but you’ll have the opportunity to write content that you’re passionate about.
“I try to find like-minded clients, and my portfolio is fun and kind of loud, so finding people that are drawn to that is a plus. That being said, and I’m sure anyone writing will agree, there are very few jobs I’d turn down as they all will diversify my portfolio and make me better. This is why I have a variety of portfolios depending on the type of client I’m reaching out to.”Emilee Calametti
3. Select a Website and Domain Name
Now that you’ve decided on your niche and audience, you can finally get to select where you want to publish your portfolio. There are many websites out there that offer you amazing features, but for a price. Everyone should be able to create a portfolio for free and with little to no hassle.
- Wix: With hundreds of templates out there, Wix is a great place to start when creating your first portfolio. If you have trouble designing in your head, Wix lets you browse through their vast collection to create a portfolio that perfectly matches your aesthetic. At no cost to you, utilize all of their design tools and photo catalog to make sure that your portfolio gains attention.
- WordPress: Emilee can attest to the benefits of creating a portfolio on WordPress. It’s accessible and free for everyone. With different themes to choose from and helpful guides online, you’ll be able to create a stunning portfolio without all the confusion.
- Clippings: Used by journalists, bloggers, and writers alike, Clippings is the site to use if customization is at the top of your priorities. Thousands of creatives around the world use this site to present their best work. And with examples online, you can ensure that all important details are within your portfolio.
- Journo Portfolio: If you’re the type of person who needs multiple portfolios, then Journo Portfolio might be your pick. They have a portfolio for whatever writing style you can think of. From poetry to proofreading, this site has just about everything you’re looking for.
- Contently: Looking for a website that combines the portfolio process and connects you with potential clients? Then Contently is the way to go. This site lets you upload an unlimited amount of projects, so even when you’re deep into your writing career, you can always go back and add more.
Once you’ve selected where you’d like to publish your portfolio, you can get to work on the domain name. For most writers, they simply go with their first and last name, but if you’re looking for something a little more creative, try and pick out a name that resonates with the general theme of your portfolio.
4. Create the “About Me” Section
Along with the pieces of writing you select, the ‘About Me’ section of a writing portfolio is one of the most important elements of presenting your work. This will be the first thing that potential clients see, so remember to make your language strong and concise.
“You want to keep things professional, but still, let your personality shine through. Think about your audience and base how you present yourself from there.”Emilee Calametti
This is also where you will want to highlight any achievements, awards, or special skills that you’ve gained in your writing career. Once somebody has read through this section, they should be able to clearly see what type of writing you’re interested in, the history of your writing career, and have a general idea of who you are as a writer. Make sure to state if you’re looking for work and include contact information so people can reach out to you.
This section of the writing portfolio will help strengthen your writing abilities. Being able to promote yourself is an essential skill, especially if you’re interested in freelancing. Stay true to yourself, and you’ll be able to see results in no time.
5. Determine What Pieces to Present
Now it’s time to select which pieces you want to present in your portfolio. The most important thing to keep in mind while doing this is quality over quantity. Only pick the best of the best. If you’re having trouble narrowing things down, ask a friend or a fellow contemporary to read through your writing. Getting a second opinion can make all the difference.
“Your pieces should be diverse and showcase the various tasks and projects you can take on as a writer. You want to include your strongest pieces across a wide variety of areas. Your pieces should also showcase different publication types and styles. This will be constantly changing as you grow as a writer and write new pieces. You want to make sure you tailor your pieces to your specific area, but keep diversity in mind.”Emilee Calametti
Don’t be afraid to go in and revise some of your older works as well. This will not only give you the chance to enhance your editing skills, but it’ll allow you to see how much progress you’ve made. At the end of the day, you should be proud of what you put on your portfolio, so taking the time to revise and edit should provide insight into how far you’ve come as a writer.
6. Organize for the Best Presentation
After you’ve picked out your best pieces of writing, now comes the time to dig into organization. A great way to showcase your writing is by dividing your work into genres. Whether it be copywriting, creative writing, or academic writing, you’ll want separate sections that represent each type of writing. This will help people and potential clients navigate your portfolio with ease. However, you can choose to put your best samples on the front page of your portfolio, rather than dividing everything into individual sections.
“I like to put my best pieces first and also add the pieces that show my niche. Since the samples you choose should be diverse and show a variety of areas, I like to mix them up and sprinkle different things here and there. You can also have things very organized though and have different sections for each style. I think this goes into representing who you are!”Emilee Calametti
There are many ways to organize your writing portfolio. If you like things to be more structured, dividing your work into sections might be the better option. But, if getting your best samples out there is at the top of your priorities, then making sure your niche is known will be the best direction to take.
You can also have a mix of both to diversify your portfolio. Remember, as long as your portfolio is a representation of yourself, you’re on the right track.
7. Keep Revising
As writers, we should always be going back to older pieces and seeing how we could improve. The same goes for your portfolio. As you progress in your career, you want to keep adding to not only the work you’ve done but also to your accomplishments. The more experience you gain, the more that should be presented. Revising your portfolio will make your writing samples even more relevant, and people will keep coming back to your work, hoping to see new additions.
“It is always going to be changing and so are YOU! The beauty of the portfolio is you can and should update it frequently and that can go for the design also. Have fun with it and let it be a showcase of who you are and what you bring to the table.”Emilee Calametti
As you grow and change in your career, your portfolio should reflect that same amount of progress. Just like going back and editing older pieces of writing, this will be a great way to see how far you’ve come. From the first portfolio to your most current one, you’ll be able to see just how much work you’ve put into becoming a successful writer.
Now, start creating!
A writing portfolio can be a great resource for writers of all different genres. Whether you’re trying to gain a clientele or just want a place where all your writing is presented, the writing portfolio can help in many regards.
Now that you know the most important aspects of creating a writing portfolio, it’s time to get started! Just remember, don’t be afraid to showcase who you really are. Authenticity is everything, and being open about who you are as a writer is bound to make you go far in this career.
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