Things I'd say to a young writer


Who better to advise aspiring young writers than a successful young writer? Freelance Feast welcomes guest blogger Jasmine Henry, recent college grad and content manager at Inbound Marketing Agents.

So, you're majoring in English and want to build a career as a professional creative. Spinning words is your craft, and you can't remember a time when you aspired to anything else. Writing professionally isn't easy, but it's highly possible. Establish your career as a freelance writer by embracing the changes that have occurred over recent years.

Write high-quality copy

The internet has changed the process of being published from a real achievement to something as simple as setting up a free blog. Web content has exploded, and real writers and editors matter more than ever. Major search engines are getting smarter all the time about straining out the people who have taken short cuts, have plagiarized, or just don't add any real value to their niche. As 8 billion Google searches are performed each month, the top spots are increasingly going to be filled with information that matters. Becoming an expert and developing an original voice are crucial for successful writers.

Don't sell yourself short

There will never be a shortage of clients who are happy to pay you a penny per word and expect full ownership of the content. Ghost writing isn't the most terrible way to make a living, but you simply can't build a portfolio when the work doesn't belong to you. The key is balance and taking the time to pitch and write interesting content. You may need to balance your time in the first months between writing unpaid guest posts and ghost writing for business blogs. But don't sell yourself short. Know that you have to earn a reputation as a voice that matters to expect a living wage for your craft.

Maintain an online presence

You've probably heard at least once that networking is more important than ever. The web allows you to connect with writers and clients around the world, so make sure that you are visible online and that your presence is well-maintained and consistent with your professionalism. Build a personal website that displays your portfolio and quotations from happy clients. Initiate a blog, and don't quit using it as a platform for having fun and sharing ideas that matter to you. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are perfect platforms for promoting your authorship and making connections that count.

Hone your craft

Any great writer will tell you that the day they walked across the stage in their cap and gown with a newly earned Bachelor of Arts was just the beginning of their education. Great writers are lifelong students, and they know that exceptional writing isn't organic. Keep buying books, curate an RSS feed of the best blogs in your field, and feed yourself constantly with writing that matters. The secret to being a writer people want to hear is to constantly listen to others.

Great writing isn't dead, so don't listen to anyone who tells you it is. Build a career by developing connections with great writers and learning how to write words that jive well with both search engines and readers. Writing professionally can happen for you.

Jasmine Henry has been freelance writing since graduating with a BA in Russian in 2010. She recently joined Inbound Marketing Agents as content manager. Jasmine finds inspiration in well-written blogs, Russian short stories, and extra-dry cappuccinos. Connect with her on twitter: @jasminehenry10.