Where to Find Writing Exposure Opportunities

There are plenty of opportunities out there – but where are they hiding?

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No one particularly likes writing for exposure. But when you’re trying to break into a niche, build your portfolio, establish an online presence and get the kind of experience you need to earn paid writing jobs, it’s necessary. It doesn’t have to last forever – and really, in the beginning, it’s not so bad.

As you probably already know, there are a lot of people out there who will have no problem letting you write for them for free. Here are a few places online where you can find free writing opportunities to help get your writing career, slowly, off the ground.


Ed2010

Ed2010 is a networking and mentoring network built for aspiring writers and editors. Its job listings include everything from full-time writing and editing positions to freelance work to, yes, unpaid writing and editing internships. Jobs are either on location or remote, so if you can’t pack up and relocate, there still could be something there for you.

I found one of my long-term clients through Ed – I’d recommend it to anyone having trouble finding opportunities to write stuff online. It’s a great place to find niche opportunities, e.g., if you want to write about fashion, parenting, health, etc.

Blogs in your niche

Many blogs either offer or are primarily supported by guest posts – posts from random writers who want to add their voice to a particular blog they like and/or resonate with. Having a blog of your own first does help give you some leverage here – more than one person has approached me through Novelty to guest post for them.

You can’t always depend on other people to seek you out, especially if you’re still working on growing your presence. Bloggers are used to being bothered about guest posting – it comes with the territory. Just go for it – you never know what could happen. I get message requests on LinkedIn all the time asking me if we guest post here (we don’t). Speaking of which …

LinkedIn

I’m not a LinkedIn expert by any means, but the day I changed my featured headline to Freelance Writer/Editor, I started getting message and connection requests from people in the appropriate field. Including several “recruiters” working in PR whose job it is to literally link you to writing opportunities – most of them “for exposure,” but if this is what you need, it’s a pretty sweet start.

I haven’t found much success with finding more creative jobs on LinkedIn, but in terms of networking, it’s definitely the place to be. I can’t speak to finding paid freelance work through here, because I’ve honestly never looked, but I’ve heard it’s pretty rotten. It doesn’t hurt to connect with people, join groups, do some professional publishing and see where it takes you.

Online magazines

I launched my professional writing career at the age of 20, when I started an unpaid internship hosted by an online magazine. Many online magazines that also offer writing internships are designed for students – because, believe it or not, some people do understand that no one should ever work as an unpaid intern once they graduate from college. It’s a great way to get your name out there, get experience working with editors and practicing how never to miss a deadline.

Even if you’re not a student, though, many web-based magazines don’t pay their freelancers but still welcome wannabe writers – so go ahead; pitch some stories. Even smaller publications can help you give some much-needed sustenance to your writing portfolio. It’s better to have published articles in a variety of places – it makes your experience more diverse, and shows that you’re good at reaching out to people who don’t know you exist.


When you’re looking for exposure opportunities, my best advice is to pick blogs, websites and publications that you’re actually interested in working with. Don’t just grab at anything that comes your way – I’ve ended up writing a lot of generic productivity articles that way, all for free. Your niche is your center. It often helps to show that you’re focused in your writing – a little variety is okay, but it starts to make you look a little desperate if you’ll write about anything just to have your name on it.

Where is the best place you’ve found opportunities to write for exposure? Did these opportunities help you get any paid experience later on?


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

How to Earn a Career in Writing – Part 2

Don’t just start – finish.

Read Part 1

“What you make won’t always be good, make you money, or reach your desired audience. But if you finish it, it will at the very least be done… that’s the only way it has a chance of checking any of those boxes. Do things. Do them until they are done.”

– Jason Oberholtzer, editor and producer (Hustle Economy, pp. 23-24)

Out of all the creative projects you have started in the past year, how many have you actually finished? How many are you still working on? How many have you had to put to rest, unfinished?

I, as I’m sure many others do, can name past and current projects in each of these categories. The abandoned, unfinished ones being the most difficult to admit.

But I am not a chronic unfinisher. Unless there is a reasonable roadblock preventing me from finishing something, and I am forced to admit defeat, I finish what I start.

But many don’t. Which is why so many complain that they just can’t seem to ever finish anything.

Many writers and creatives struggle with something I like to call a Finishing Complex. They tangle themselves so unnecessarily in worries about What Happens When This Is Over that they stop before they ever get to Over.

I’m all for the claim that starting is better than nothing – you deserve all the praise and then some for acting on an idea. But you can’t just go through life dragging all your unfinished projects behind you. Not if you want to earn the right to call yourself a Successful Professional – whatever that means.

There are likely dozens of reasons why people start things but don’t finish them. The two plaguing writers the most, I’m going to guess, are these:

  • The euphoria that comes with Starting Something New wears off – it stops being fun, so usually you just end up taking the easy way out and quitting, usually passively (gradually working on something less and less until it lays eternally forgotten)
  • Other things get in the way – usually distractions you’re for whatever reason unable to overcome. You start binge-watching a new show on Netflix (DON’T DO IT) or you make the mistake of deciding to work on a new project without planning out how you’re also going to simultaneously work on finishing the current one.

There’s a possible third – you don’t think it’s good enough, so you just give up.

Here’s the cliche reality you’ve heard too many times already: writing is hard, getting published is harder, it’s not always going to be fun, it sometimes takes years to break into the business.

Here’s what you don’t hear often enough: the more often you quit before you’re done, the less likely you are to break that cycle someday.

If you want to succeed in writing, you have to train yourself to work until you’re done. This takes a lot of discipline – something else you’ll need to overcome this habit of just not wanting to get it done. You’re not lazy – you just have a weak skill. All weak skills can be strengthened – with effort, and hard work. It’s essential, if you want to be a finisher. Finishers, eventually, make money, and reach larger audiences, and are more proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Yeah, it’s too hard, you’re tired, you keep getting rejected, all the feedback you get feels like needles in your chest. None of that even matters if you aren’t able to follow through. Finishing is a skill – not just in writing, but all over the professional landscape. If you don’t know how to consistently finish things, who’s going to be able to rely on you to do so regularly – and pay you for it? Nobody.

You never know how a particular piece of writing will turn out. You might think something in progress is the worst thing you’ve ever written. Finish it anyway. If nothing else, finishing makes you feel more accomplished. It boosts your confidence. It helps build up your resilience. There are going to be times you’re responsible for writing something, and you don’t want to keep going, but you have to anyway. It’s not an option. What are you going to do when you get to that point?


Why should I keep writing when I’m bored?

Here’s the thing … if you’re bored writing it, someone else will be bored reading it. So if you’re losing interest, it’s up to you to reignite some kind of spark. You have all the power in the world to spice up your own work – use it. The thing is, you had an idea. Your brain came up with something good enough that you made the conscious decision to sit down and start writing. Just because it’s no longer shiny and new doesn’t mean you should abandon ship when you still have plenty of sailing to do. Just keep writing. Make it interesting – overly dramatic, if you have to. You’re not THAT bored – you’re looking for an easy way out. Stop making excuses.


I’m good at meeting deadlines – just not my own

If you’re someone who works well on deadline but can’t push yourself to finish anything on your own, you’re probably accountability dependent – you need someone or something to hold you accountable for doing your work and following through, or it’ll never happen. There’s nothing wrong with that – but if external accountability isn’t available, you do need to take some steps to learn how to set and meet your own deadlines. Otherwise, scout Facebook groups and other writing forums to see if a reliable accountability buddy is ready and willing to partner up.


But my writing really is awful!

Really – says who? Has anyone ever straight up told you, “You are a bad writer?” I highly doubt it. If you’re going off of your own opinions of your work, stop it. We’re not allowed to officially judge our own work, because 95 percent of the time, we’ll hate it and think it’s the worst piece of writing ever created. It’s normal to cringe at your own writing, but that doesn’t mean your writing is bad. If you’ve received negative feedback on your work from someone else, that also doesn’t mean you’ve done a bad job. It’s actually more disappointing if critics have nothing bad to say about your writing. There’s always going to be someone who feels the need to point out a flaw. Get over it.


How do you make money and grow your audience as a writer? By finishing what you start. Every project you finish is another chance at success. Pick one thing from your long list of Things You Want to Start and focus on finishing that one thing. Finishing doesn’t mean it has to be perfect. It means it has to be done. Done, in first-draft terms, still means a lot. Get to that point, so you can go even further.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Is It a Waste of Time to Write About Writing?

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There is an author I love, who shall remain unnamed in this post, who posted a piece of writing advice on her Goodreads page awhile back that, at least temporarily, made me question what I was doing with my life.

Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, maybe. The magnitude of questioning, not the piece of advice. To aspiring writers, she suggested, and I’m paraphrasing here, that instead of writing about all the books they wanted to write and about their writing progress, they should step away from their blogs and actually get some writing done.

For brand-new writers, or writers who are really struggling to focus and get things done, this is really good advice. But for someone like me, who has been writing for over half her life, it sort of threw me off.

Was I wasting valuable writing time by writing about writing?

At first, I started to think so. Most of the posts I write take around an hour, sometimes less, and I could very easily crank out 500 to 1,000 words of an article I’m getting paid to write, or a novel I’m hoping to get published, instead of spending it “with” you guys.

Yet I’m not sure this author’s advice really applies to me, in the sense that by blogging and connecting with other writers online, I’m actually gaining much more than I’m losing. I’m experienced and disciplined enough to balance it all, whereas a newer writer won’t be – not because they’re not good at what they do, but because they haven’t had years of practice fitting writing into the various hidden crevices of their daily lives.

I think it depends on the person. This is one of unfortunately many cases in which general writing advice is more harmful than it is helpful. I do my best to try and give you advice that you can either apply to your own writing life or pass on to someone who you think might benefit from it. It’s never going to apply to everyone, but generally, we do our best.

You have to do whatever keeps you moving forward when you’re trying to get a lot of writing done. Most days, writing blog posts gets me fired up to do the rest of my writing for the day. I don’t think I would have as much drive to write as much as I do without keeping up this blog. I enjoy it. I enjoy putting my thoughts out there, but more importantly, I enjoy the opportunity to hopefully, maybe, help another writer or two find their way.

It doesn’t feel like wasted time to me. Do you write about writing, via a blog or Facebook groups or other types of forums/websites/other mediums? Does it help you focus, or take away from your productivity as a writer?

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Kalyan Chakravarthy/flickr.com.

My Novel Is Eating My Brain – Zombie Apocalypse?

I have a very hard time doing this wondrous thing they call “relaxing.” I’ve tried my very hardest to be successful at it the past few days, but I’m not sure I have. I don’t feel comfortable sitting around doing “nothing.” I can’t relax at home. I need to GO somewhere. A beach, a library, a mall for goodness sake (and I hate shopping!).

Thankfully, I’m a writer. I have my own stories to take me to places and times unseen.

The fact that I have not even opened my novel since Wednesday is only a nagging thought somewhere deep in my subconscious, not too much of a bother unless I’m between “tasks” (those tasks being, oh I don’t know, reading, tanning, maybe some more reading) and start thinking about my characters again. I love thinking about my characters. Novel Nerds – unite!

No, my book isn’t about zombies. Don’t even go there.

Because there are many different plot lines, each with their own POV (Kim, Melody, Ally, Brittany, Maddie, Morgan, Tiffany and Dana) I’ve spent most of my runs and workouts this week thinking about the common thread that’s going to tie them together. There’s already an ending line that each plot ends with (whether at the end of the book or end of Part 1, I have yet to decide). And all their stories are intertwined. I just don’t want to make it too complicated. I’m going to need someone to read it just to tell me whether or not they can keep up with everything.

I’m starting to like Melody’s story just as much as Ally’s – and since Brittany’s is so closely tied into Ally’s and Melody’s, I’m starting to really like hers, too. I do miss working on the TV script, though. It was a great way to practice dialogue.

My dialogue may not be perfect (is anyone’s?), but it’s better than it used to be. I blame that on my high school creative writing teacher. “Blame.” More like thank.

Writing about my writing makes me want to write more. Why do you think I blogged all throughout July Novel Writing Month? If you’re blocked in one, switch to the other, or another, or even another – I’ve scribbled out a few poems or a verse of song lyrics over the past few weeks just to have a different project to keep my creativity flowing for a little while.

But I’m also addicted to Sarah Dessen’s new book. So we’ll see how much writing actually gets done between tonight and tomorrow.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 8

Why is it that I can wake up at 4:30AM (again, not on purpose) and write 2,000 words without doing much thinking, then sit down later in the day to scrape together a decent post and can’t even think of a good lead?

Oh. Maybe it’s that whole waking up before the sun thing that’s frying my brain. Or, you know, fifteen credit hours crammed into two months (while still attempting to write a novel).

I think the crazy train has left the station. Bordering psychosis, now, don’t you think? Of course, I’m the only one allowed to say that. It’s okay when it comes out of my mouth, or gets from my brain to my fingertips and therefore onto this page.

Forgive me. I’ve only had three cups of coffee today.

3d laptopThis is where you say, “Meg, three cups of coffee is a lot.”

Um, excuse me. No.

I have two more A&P lectures and then a final. Of course, between then and now, I also have a test and two quizzes to ace. Still shooting for that A, though it’s quite a long shot at this point. At least I’ll pull of an A in marketing (because if I get a B in an online class, I’m sorry, I’m finding a cliff and jumping off of it. End of story).

Pun intended.

I turn 21 in thirteen days. Do you know what that means? Yes, you guessed it: chocolate cake. I finally have a good reason to eat chocolate cake until it comes out my ears. It’s my favorite day of the year. I haven’t had chocolate cake in . . . a year. Which means I’m long overdue for some cake, of the chocolate variety, preferably in multiple layers.

But first, I need to study how the digestive system works. (Funny how irony just happens to sneak up on you like that.)

Love&chocolatecravinghugs, Meg<3