If you’re new to freelancing or if you’ve been out of the field for a while, your first task for building a freelance writing portfolio is to create and accumulate content. Although we shouldn’t need to, we’re going to stress that any content for your portfolio must be GOOD. Pick well-written, well-edited pieces and be sure to proofread the final version for errors—just because an error made it to print does not mean it should make it into your portfolio.
Here is a list of ideas we came up with to help you start writing. Remember, at this stage, your goal is to create content, even if it isn’t being published in the New York Times.
Submit to online article clearinghouses
Associated Content (recently renamed Yahoo! Voices), Suite 101, and eHow are places to start getting your name out there. They publish so much content so often that you should not have any difficulties getting involved.
Volunteer for local newsletters
Church, school, and local club newsletters can give you a chance to practice your skills; some of them also post their newsletters online, giving you an even wider audience.
Enter writing contests
There are contests specific to practically every genre, so pick one that you consider as your strong point and enter. Winning can lend prestige to your work.
Start a blog
Blogging is generally free (just pick the right blog platform), and it gives you an opportunity to practice consistently.
Once you have several pieces of content, it’s time to move to Step 2 for a Freelance Portfolio: Build Content.