A writing portfolio is an essential tool for writers looking to showcase their work and demonstrate their skill. Whether you’re a freelancer, aspiring author or looking to get a job in the industry, a writing portfolio not only looks professional, but it also helps potential clients and employers see what you have to offer. Here are some tips on how to create a fantastic writing portfolio.
What is a Writing Portfolio?
Writing portfolios are used by writers to display and showcase their work and their experience. This can include links to your publications, pieces of writing/ideas looking for a home, or generally your style, your experience and what you have to offer.
Writing portfolios are a vital part of building your brand as a writer, and showing potential employers or clients your existing work and style, in the hope of increasing your future opportunities with them. If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, creating a portfolio is a great way to showcase your writing, and a professional way to sell yourself and your skills.
Step 1: Finding your platform
If you’re a complete newbie, there are plenty of websites that provide (free) templates and designs for you to create your portfolio. You may choose to purchase a domain name personal to you, to make your portfolio site seem more professional, but don’t worry if you can’t do this right away. Here are some free sites you can use to host your portfolio:
WordPress is easy to use, and has plenty of free themes perfect for hosting a portfolio. As it is a blogging platform, it works well for displaying written content, but also pictures and more. WordPress is free to set up, however does offer paid plans which offers more designs and opportunities, including monetizing the site.
Clippings.me is a free portfolio site which already hosts thousands of writing portfolios. It is free and easy to customise, with features such as adding separate tabs for different themes/genres. The design is easy to change and requires little prior knowledge with website design. Their Facebook Group also offers a community feel.
Wix is a great tool for those new to website design, with lots of fun and creative themes for free – they even have a design section just for portfolios. It is also one of the more affordable sites for hosting a custom domain.
Step 2: Selecting your writing
Once you have decided where you are going to host your portfolio and how it will look, it’s time to fill it up with your writing to show to potential clients and employers.
Start by making a list of all of the writing you have shared and had published, as well as any writing that is yet to be published, but is looking for a home. If you’re a regular writer, you may have a lot to choose from, and it can be difficult to decide what makes the cut. An important part of selecting which writing to feature comes down to what you want clients and employers to see, and what you are proud of.
If you have written in different genres/styles, it would be a good idea to have a selection of these different styles to show your flexibility and what you are capable of. Make sure you use different pages or sections for this, as it will be easier for those viewing your portfolio to navigate (particularly if they have a specific genre in mind).
Likewise, if you have been published on lots of different websites, or in lots of different places, try to showcase the pieces that best represent you and your writing style, or the pieces your most proud of. It’s very unlikely that a client/employer will have time to read everything on your portfolio, especially if there’s upwards of 100 pieces of writing on there. That’s why it’s important to ensure everything featured is high quality and sells you and your ability.
Linking to the pieces on an external site will do wonders for your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but also help those viewing your portfolio to get a feel for the places you have already been featured.
Step 3: Author Biography
Writing an author biography is a great way to make your portfolio more personal, but also help clients and employers get a sense of who you are. It’s a valuable way to sell yourself and have your personality and experience come through to support your work.
When writing a biography, it doesn’t matter if you choose to write in the first person (I am…) or the third person (Becca is…). The most important thing is that it is professional, yet personal and informative.
Make sure you include:
- Your name (or pen name) and your job title
- What you write and your experience
- Some achievements and publications
- What you are currently working on/any current projects
- Your social media/blog links
So, once you have your design, your writing and your biography all ready to to go, it’s time to share your writing portfolio! Make sure to regularly keep it updated, replacing any old content with new, fresher content, and to ensure it is shared on your socials, blogs and LinkedIn for potential clients and employers to find.