Writers who have no clips often believe that they cannot get work. That leads them to accepting underpaid and unappreciated jobs that in the end will not put them in a better position to land better gigs. If you are in that position, you have options! Don’t settle for jobs that aren’t worth your time. Instead work on making yourself more marketable.
1) Find the right markets.
Locate a couple of markets that work with new writers. You can find them by searching online using “welcomes new writers” or “new or experienced writers” and similar phrases. You will come up with magazines and e-zines that will be happy to give an opportunity to someone without any publishing credits. Start by studying these publications. See what they want and then work up a good query for them.
2) Write on spec.
“On spec” is writer-speak for “on speculation.” You write the full article and send it to a market asking if they want to publish it. Some markets don’t accept full manuscripts, so be sure to check the guidelines. Still it is a way to get started with your writing career. Show the editor that you can write a well-crafted piece, and she will forget about the fact that you have no writing credits. (You should never volunteer that information, by the way, but you have to be honest if asked.)
3) Create a writing sample.
Many jobs, particularly in web writing, ask for a sample of your writing. They don’t ask for something that has been published. They just want to see if you can write. You should sit down and come up with an article idea on a topic with which you are familiar. Write a sample piece on that topic, and you can use it to show prospective clients.
4) Start a website or blog.
While these credits are still a little iffy, they do show initiative and a commitment to writing. Start your own site on a topic near and dear to your heart and produce quality writing. If someone asks for a sample in an email query, you can give them the URL so that they can see for themselves. You also are creating a place for you in that niche, so your own site has double benefits.
These ideas are just a few of the ways you can work on getting writing samples and clips when you are starting your writing career. Don’t give up because of one single roadblock. There are ways around it.