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Home » How to Build a Creative Writing Portfolio: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Build a Creative Writing Portfolio: A Step-by-Step Guide

The world of literature is expansive. It covers everything from classic novels and poetry to short stories and plays. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin when you’re seeking guidance on your creative writing journey. If you’re looking for inspiration, this article will point you in the right direction.

The Process

The first step to creating a creative writing portfolio is to figure out how you’ll go about compiling it. You should try to keep your portfolio as unique as possible, so take the time to come up with ideas for how it will come together. Once you have an idea of what you’ll include, you can begin to lay out the content. It’s always a good idea to write out the content in advance so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting something important. You should also think about the type of content you’ll include in your work. Your portfolio will reflect the style and voice of your creative writing, so you may want to consider what types of stories you’ll tell.

The Parts

A creative writing portfolio is a collection of short stories, poems, or other creative works that you’ve written. In order to make it more accessible to potential employers or educational institutions, it’s a good idea to put the work into a format that is easy to understand. The parts should be concise and comprehensive – no more than three or four pages. They should also be easily scannable and contain an accurate reflection of your work. The following will discuss the various parts of a creative writing portfolio and help you build one that is both impressive and unique to you:

Types Of Works

The first thing to consider is the types of works you’ll include in your portfolio. Fiction and non-fiction have different requirements when it comes to a portfolio, so you should think about which one you’ll use. The most common type of fiction is the short story, although it can vary from a novella to a novel. The non-fiction sector includes everything from biographies to how-to books and personal essays. It can also be broader than just literature, so think about the type of non-fiction works you’ve produced. Essays can be both fiction and non-fiction, but the key difference is the level of detail. Biographies and how-to books can contain a high level of detail, so you should include these types of works in order to prove your expertise. If you’re seeking feedback on your creative writing, consider whether you’ll submit your work for critique or if you’ll just want to show off your finished product. Both have their benefits, so think about what you’ll use and how you’ll use it.


The next step to building your creative writing portfolio is to figure out the format of the content. This is more important for non-fiction and biographies, as they require you to follow a specific format in order to ensure that the content is presented in the correct way. When it comes to fiction, you can use your discretion on how you’ll present your work. You can write in the third person or use limited third person and switch to the first person for a more intimate story. Think about whether you’ll use tables or if you’ll rely on the standard three-act structure. Consider the layout too – will you use a landscape or a portrait format?


Once you’ve got your format established, you can begin to think about the extras for your work. Things like graphic design, editing, and proofreading are all part of the process and should be included, even if you’re going to use a scribe. A lot of work goes into creating a polished piece of creative writing, and that effort should be reflected in your pricing. A good rule of thumb is to charge at least two to three times what you would charge for standard editorial work. This should not be hard to put into practice, as there are a lot of freelancers out there who are looking for that very type of work. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the portfolio itself too, as it will require some type of cover page (invitation or application).