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How to Develop a Creative Writing Portfolio

A creative writing portfolio is a collection of samples of your written work that you can use to show off your creative side. It can be a great tool to separate yourself from the crowd to get that all-important job you’ve been dreaming of. But what makes up a creative writing portfolio? Let’s take a look.

The Types Of Works You’ll Need

As we’ve established, a creative writing portfolio is a collection of your work that you can use to showcase your talent. But what makes up your work? Many people think that the most important thing is the content, the stories you’ve told or the poems you’ve written. They may also include the style of the piece – short stories versus longer novels, for example. All of these are important, and they help to define you as a writer, but you’ll also need some other types of works to make your portfolio complete. Let’s take a look at the different types of writing you might need.

Free-Lance Journalism

This is the classic route into freelance writing and one of the most useful items on your creative writing portfolio. Since the dawn of time, journalists have been paid to write news stories for newspapers and TV stations, and they often get first crack at important local events. If you’re a female journalist writing for a national newspaper, you may also want to include some humorous anecdotes in your portfolio when applying for work. You’ll find many opportunities for freelance writing if you keep your eyes open, so don’t be afraid to pitch your work to the biggest publications. Just make sure that you’ve got enough original content to make your work stand out.


Although the majority of work will be based on fact, non-fiction writing can cover a wide range of topics. If you’re lucky enough to have a good friend or family member who is a successful author, you may be able to get an advance copy of their next book. By gathering as many of these as possible, you’ll be able to show off your research skills and critical thinking ability. Alternatively, you can look at established non-fiction writers’ websites or contact the publishers directly to see if they offer any assistance. Keep in mind that sometimes you have to pay for these but they’re still worth it.


Fiction writing takes the form of short stories, novellas and novels. If you’ve got a complete novel or story that you’ve been wanting to get published, now might be the right time to do so. Self-publishing platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct are a great way to get your work out to as many people as possible for little to no cost, which is why many people consider them to be essential for anyone wanting to build a creative writing portfolio.

The Samples You’ll Need

Now that we’ve established the type of works you’ll need, let’s move on to the more practical side of things. What kind of samples should you include in your creative writing portfolio? Ideally, you’ll want to show off all the different types of writing you are capable of. Do you have a novel that you’ve been wanting to get published? Or maybe you’ve written a number of short stories and you want to include some in your portfolio? Or maybe you’ve got some great journalism that you’re proud of and you want to include it all in one place. Choose a combination of the above and you’ll be able to put together a cohesive and comprehensive collection of material.

Whatever the case may be, you’ll need a variety of samples so that employers can see your skillset. In terms of formatting, many publications will prefer if you format your work using the American style, so some sample American-style short stories and novels would look great in a portfolio.

Where Should You Apply?

Once you’ve got your work gathered, it’s time to look for publishing opportunities. Like any other industry, the field of publishing is constantly changing, and new platforms emerge to give artists a new way to connect with consumers.

The good news is that the internet makes it much easier for anyone to get their work out there, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to get your work published. The key is in being able to find the right platform for your work. The above sections have defined the different types of writing you’ll need, but if you’re searching for a way to get your work published, it’s a good idea to look beyond just your existing writing samples and develop a plan.