Building Your Writing Portfolio: Tips and Ideas

Having a writing portfolio is essential when being a writer, especially when you enjoy writing in various mediums like myself. Since I like to write novels, short stories, and creative non-fiction, a writing portfolio is something I have been building up for years. If you don’t really know, a writing portfolio is a collection of work you have written (published or unpublished) that you have at hand to show to potential employers (if you are in freelance or such) or to just show off your work. Today, I will be giving some tips and ideas on building your writing portfolio to make it the best it can be and I hope you enjoy!

  • Always Add to Your Portfolio – A writing portfolio is something that should never really be finished. Over the months or years, you should be continuously adding your best work to it. This allows you to have lots of options to select from and then showcase your best pieces. This also goes for editing, you should never stop editing your pieces. You don’t have to edit them every week, but every few months give them a quick look over because you will always find new ways to improve them.
  • Choose the Pieces That Showcase You Best – Focus on pieces that really highlight you as a writer, whether that is your technique or voice, find the pieces that you love the most and seem the best to you. Don’t add something to your professional portfolio just because you wrote it, add it if you feel it has a valid reason for being in there and you think could get you somewhere in your career.
  • Use Published Pieces the Most – If you don’t have any pieces published yet, that is fine, focus on showcasing the ones you think could be published in the future. But, if you have a short story or an essay published, that should automatically get first choice to be put in your writing portfolio. That way, when someone takes a look at it and sees that it had been published before, you will automatically seem more professional and qualified in their eyes. Don’t be discouraged if your work isn’t published though!

What To Do with Your Writing Portfolio:

  • Showcase It On Your Blog or Social Media – Have a link to it somewhere on your blog or in the bio of your social media. Just have it somewhere others can reach it if they need to.
  • Use Pieces for Writing Contests/Literary Journals – Since your writing portfolio should be your most POLISHED pieces, why not put them to work and submit them for publication? If they get published, great! If not, send them to a few more places or clean it up even more. Writing contests and literary magazines are particular and selective, which is why it is important to send your pieces out to various ones because they are all looking for different things.
  • Submit Them to Scholarships – There are a lot of great writing scholarships out there if you are in school, but a lot of them require a LOT of writing samples. For example, one scholarship I am applying to in a few months asks for 8 different pieces of writing…8! That is a lot and I am still not at that number yet (although I am close). I wish I had a larger writing portfolio of pieces I am proud of because than this would be a lot easier.

 

Hamilton Book Tag

I love Hamilton and I love books so I thought it was about time I gave this tag a try. I have seen this tag done on YouTube countless times and am super excited to answer these questions with my favourite books so let’s get into it!

Original Tag

THE QUESTIONS:

1. The Room Where It Happens: Book world you would put yourself in

harry-potter-philosophers-stone-book

This is a given because while there are a lot of book worlds I would like to put myself in, the wizarding world in Harry Potter is the best option to be honest. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world of magic? Easy question.

2. The Schuyler Sisters: Underrated Female Character

lady-midnight-by-cassandra-clare

While I wouldn’t say this character is exactly underrated, I just don’t think she gets enough credit or page time as some of the others. However, I expect she will in the third and final book in this trilogy which comes out in a few months and I am VERY excited for that. The character I am talking about is Christina from The Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare! I love Christina, her story, and her potential love interest (hehe) so much, and just wished we saw more of her as opposed to some of the other characters…

3. My Shot: A character that goes after what they want and doesn’t let anything stop them

TheRavenBoys

Gansey from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is on a mission to find the lost king Glendower, and has been for years. Throughout the story we learn the hardships he had gone through and how quitting sometimes seemed like the best option, yet he still searches because he knows it is what he is meant to do. He definitely goes after what he wants when it is important and won’t let anyone get in the way and I admire him for it!

4. Stay Alive: A character you wish was still alive [warn for spoilers!]

IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE INFERNAL DEVICES THEN DON’T READ THIS

Image result for clockwork angel

While this character’s death wasn’t abrupt but natural, something we really don’t see that much in YA fantasy, I still would really like Will Herondale to be alive! I loved him and it is terrible that Tessa and Jem have to live on without him.

——–END OF SPOILERS——-

5. Burn: The most heartbreaking end to a relationship you’ve ever read [warn for spoilers!]

IF YOU HAVE NOT READ ME BEFORE YOU BY JOJO MOYES IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO NOT READ BELOW

Me-Before-You-Movie-Soundtrack

I think it was pretty obvious what was going to happen by the end of this book with our two love interests, Lou and Will, but I was still NOT ready for it. There was no way of avoiding it with Will’s quadriplegia so I didn’t expect to cry but I did…a lot.

——-END OF SPOILERS——

6. You’ll Be Back: Sassiest villain

Image result for the vampire diaries book

Okay…kind of cheating because I haven’t read these books but going off the TV show, The Vampire Diaries has some of the BEST villains ever. They are so sassy and amazing and you can see their side of the story with most of the decisions they make. Katherine is the queen of villains but all the others are great as well.

7. The Reynolds Pamphlet – A book with a twist that you didn’t see coming [warn for spoilers!]

IF YOU HAVE NOT READ WE WERE LIARS THEN DON’T READ BELOW

wewereliars

Oh my god. I cannot remember a book that blew me away as much as this book had. Maybe some people saw that end coming but I didn’t (maybe because I read it between the hours of 12am-3am…) and it CRUSHED me. I grew to like all the characters in this book and then to find out most of them were dead? Like what? I cried. A lot.

——-END OF SPOILERS——-

8. Non-stop: A series you marathoned

Image result for the divergent series

Image result for the selection series

When I think about it, I haven’t actually marathoned a book series in a really long time. However, I do remember flying through the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth and The Selection trilogy (it was a trilogy at the time) by Kiera Cass. I lived in a small town at that time with not much to do so I spent three days on each series reading the books from back to front and then immediately picking up the sequel!

9. Satisfied: Favorite book with multiple POVs

Image result for the lost hero

When it comes to multiple POV I usually dislike reading in about 50% of the POVs. However, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan follows three different perspectives and I love reading from them all. Piper, Leo and Jason are really fun to follow as are 99% of Rick Riordan’s characters, and this has been a favourite book of mine since I was really young. Just talking about it makes me want to revisit the characters, as well as the other books which have lots of amazing POVs!

10. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book/series you feel like will be remembered throughout history

 

Apart from Harry Potter, I have two answers for this: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I have yet to read either of them yet (Children of Blood and Bone will be the next book I read once I finish my current reads!), but they have received an amazing amount of buzz. The Hate U Give deals with important topics among our society today that will not be forgotten, and Children of Blood and Bone is also something the world has needed and been waiting for. These books will be remembered throughout history and I cannot wait to give them both a read!

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to the Hamilton Book Tag and if you want to do it then I tag you! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, and also make sure you follow me on social media for more reading and writing related content 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

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Reading + Writing Update

This week was not a great reading week…like at all. I think I read about 100 pages total of Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman and that is it. That means I am only 300 pages into the book and still got about 200 pages left. So far of what I have read, I am loving it and super intrigued to see what happens. This week, I just wasn’t in the mood for reading but I do want to try and get some more reading done this week because I only have three weeks left of summer vacation! After that, reading will be very minimal because I will be trying to get back into school. There are a LOT of books I want to get done though so I need to get reading. Like now. My reading plans for this week though are to finish Thunderhead, finish The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (I am about 100 pages in), and at least start Fullmetal Alchemist volume 2. Fingers crossed I get it all done. I have been feeling more motivated and productive so I have high hopes!

As for writing, I got one or two thousand words written towards my main WIP, Project Mystic and 1,500 words towards one of my short stories. Not as much as I hoped, but a creative break was desperately needed. This week, my writing goals are going to be realistic but I also want to make sure I get lots done. I am leaving to go camping on Friday so I doubt I will get much writing done that day, and I will be gone until Sunday. It is also my birthday this coming week, as well as my best friend’s and grandfather’s so lots of celebrating. So yes, goals are: reach act II of Project Mystic and finish and edit a short story to prep for submission.

That is all for my reading + writing update, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and also my social media where I post reading and writing related content 🙂

Last Blog Post: Midnight Thoughts – Focusing on the Positive While Writing

 

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Midnight Thoughts – Focusing on the Positive While Writing

While writing, it can be really hard to get past the negative cloud muddling our thoughts. The negative is usually much louder, taunting us by saying “why am I even trying” “I am the worst writer” and other things like that. This is toxic and it is important for writers to look past the negative and see the positive when we can.

One of my biggest tips when it comes to focusing on the positive while writing is to focus on writing your project just because you love it and can write it. Don’t put the pressure of wanting to be published on it, otherwise your words and mental health will suffer from it. Just write. Write because you can and because it is something you enjoy doing, and let that be enough to propel you further.

I also recommend starting and ending each day with gratitude. Show gratitude to yourself and your writing, and remind yourself everyday why you are sitting here, writing. Why you are creating worlds and painting them on paper despite the hardships and obstacles along the way. This is a way to constantly refresh your goals and line of passion so that each time you sit down to write, you will feel your passion brewing inside you and waiting to come out.

Lastly, when it comes to focusing on the positive, I recommend stepping back from social media as much as possible. It can be damaging to see the other writers you follow on Instagram or Twitter, and seeing them have success when you feel like you aren’t having any. It might be that they are at different stages in their writing career, or that they are just having better luck (it happens!), but this can really pull you down. Taking a step back from these accounts, even unfollowing them for a bit if you have to, might be what you need to help direct yourself back to the positive. And that is okay. Just remember that even if these other writers seem like they are living the perfect writing life that you wish to have, there is always more behind the picture. Remember that your time will come too, and you will see that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows when you get there either.

Those are my three main tips when it comes to finding the positive while writing, and I hope you are enjoying this series of “Midnight Thoughts”! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – Spoiler Review

 

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – Spoiler Review

I have been reading so many amazing books lately that I thought I would start doing book reviews! I used to do them way, way back but stopped because they do take a lot of time and effort, and I didn’t have the energy or motivation to pour into them, but lately I have been feeling like it so why not?

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Today I will be giving a SPOILER review on Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire so if you haven’t read it, don’t read much further, however before we get into that, here is  a NON-SPOILER short synopsis on the book:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is a place for the children who have gone off to fantasy worlds and suddenly returned to the mortal world. Some hope for the door to their fantasy world to return and some don’t. Our main character Nancy has just returned and is sent off to the home for Wayward Children by her parents, and is one of the children anxious for their door to return. However, her welcome is not entirely pleasant when other Wayward children at the home begin turning up dead, different body parts missing on each one of them every time. With the help of new friends, Nancy and them try to unveil this mysterious killer before it is too late, in the hopes of saving the home and themselves.  

SPOILERY THOUGHTS BELOW, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK…

I had high expectations going into this book because everyone on all different platforms have been hyping it up like crazy. Long story short though, I did really enjoy it and thought it was a strange and unique read that is definitely worth it!

One thing this book did a great job at was diversity. Our main character, Nancy, was asexual which I do not see a lot of representation in YA books so that was great to see! We also had a transgender character named Kade, and queer representation in other characters. While this book is deemed fantasy, it made it feel more real having all this rep of real people, and it made me realize how badly we need more books like this in all areas of literature.

This book was super weird but in a dark fairy tale type of way that reels you in. The characters were strange, the world was strange, and the entire premise was strange, but that is the beauty about this book. It doesn’t follow standard YA rules I suppose you could say, and that was really refreshing.

The one thing I think this book suffered from, and if you read the book you could probably agree, is the length. This book isn’t even two hundred pages…crazy, right? And because of that, this odd and fantastical world didn’t feel fleshed out enough. We learn that there are four main areas of worlds, kind of like how we have north, east, south, and west, with worlds in between like Nonsense, Logic, etc. However, because of the short length, I never really fully grasped the worlds. Especially since we only got little snippets of what these worlds contained, like through Nancy’s flashbacks to the underworld type place she went to. And while I think the relationships between characters were well done because since we only see Nancy with these characters within the span of I don’t even know, a few days, a week? Well, because of that, the relationships weren’t going to be super strong. I did want to see more of Nancy and Kade’s relationship though, because I thought they were really good together!

The short length also made the big reveal of the murderer, being the quieter twin, less dramatic. I was still like “huh, wow”, but I only had a few pages to really feel that way. And right after the reveal, a few pages later, Nancy finds her world again and then bam, done. All within what, twenty pages? Luckily, this short length did not make me hate the book or anything, it just made me wish there was a little bit more. Even an extra fifty pages would have been nice, but at the same time I trust that the author thought this was best.

Overall, I do see myself continuing with this series, and would rate this book: 4/5 STARS

Please let me know your thoughts below because I would love to discuss!

Last Blog Post: 10 Writing Tips from Famous Authors

 

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10 Writing Tips from Famous Authors

Happy Monday!

Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some writing tips from some of our favourite authors, and see what they think makes a great and successful writer. A lot of the tips are simple, but incredibly insightful and inspiring so enjoy!

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it – Elmore Leonard

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass – Anton Chekhow

If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot – Stephen King

You rely on a sentence to say more than the denotation and the connotation; you revel in the smoke that the words send up – Toni Morrison 

A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it – Edgar Allen Poe

If you are using dialogue, say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech – John Steinbeck 

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you are doomed – Ray Bradbury

The hardest part is believing in yourself at the notebook stage. It is like believing in dreams in the morning – Erica Jong

Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you  – Zadie Smith

In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it –  Rose Tremain

Anyways, I hope you found all of these writing tips helpful and that you enjoyed them! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update – BookTubeAThon Days 6 +7

 

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Reading + Writing Update – BookTubeAThon Days 6 +7

I have been TERRIBLE at updating y’all on my reading progress this readathon, but it is the last day of the BookTubeAThon and I am here to update you all on what I did manage to get done.

The last few days have just been a weird type of busy. I haven’t been productive whatsoever, but it has been a blur of going out with friends and kind of being social. Sadly, my reading and writing suffered because of it, and I did not get nearly as much done this week as I hoped…First off, I never did finish Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman but I am about 200 pages in and in love with it. Hopefully I will be able to finish the last half of it early this coming week, because there are so many books I am anxious to get to in the last few weeks of my summer vacation: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Love & War by Melissa De La Cruz…yeah the list goes on and on. I did get four and a half books read this readathon though, which is more than I would read any other week so I am not too upset about that. The books I did manage to finish were:

  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – 4/5 stars
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – 4.5/5 stars
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – 4.5/5 stars
  • Fullmetal Alchemist Volume One by Hiromu Arakawa – 4/5 stars

As for writing…I think I only wrote like 7k words this week which is a lot less than what I usually write, but still better than nothing. I am almost 70k deep into my current WIP which is crazy and I am so, so excited to keep inching closer to the end. I have not written in like three WHOLE days which is crazy, and I am itching to write, but I know my creative well really needed a lengthy creative break. Apart from my WIP, I also wanted to have a short story written and then jump into edits this coming week, however that definitely did not happen. There were a lot of gaps in my outline of it so I am going to go back and reshape it before attempting to write it again this week. Hopefully it will go quicker than the first attempt, because I really do want to have a good handful of short stories ready to send around by the end of August!

Anyways, that is all I have to update you on and I hope you enjoyed following me along my BookTubeAThon 2018 journey! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as all my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading Update – BookTubeAThon Day 4 + 5

 

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Reading Update – BookTubeAThon Day 4 + 5

Sorry that I haven’t posted an update in TWO WHOLE DAYS…I got really busy and also, didn’t get much reading done but I am here now and ready to update on my minuscule amount of progress.

On day 4 which was Thursday, I did finish reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I also watched the book-to-movie adaptation, meaning that challenge number 3 is complete! However, I am still FOUR books behind but since it is the weekend and I don’t have much to do, I am determined to get these books done. The books I need to get done for the readathon are:

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – Challenge #4: Read a Book with Green on the Cover

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab – Challenge #5: Read a Book While Wearing the Same Hat

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Challenge #6: Read a Book with a Beautiful Spine

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1 by Hiromu Arakawa – Challenge #7: Read 7 Books

Yes, so those are my plans and finger’s crossed I can get it all done by tomorrow! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, and all of my social media which will be linked down below, and I will see you in my day 6 update later today 🙂

Last Blog Post: Staying on Track with Your Goals

 

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Reading Update – BookTubeAThon Day 3

Happy day 3 of the BookTubeAThon!

While I didn’t get as much done as I hoped, I did read about 200 more pages of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, meaning I have 170ish pages left. I have no doubt I will be able to finish it tomorrow, but I got kind of lazy with reading today and didn’t get as much done as I know I could have. Hopefully, I will feel motivated enough to finish the last bit of City of Bones tomorrow morning, and then start on my next book. Speaking of next books, I decided to add Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman to my TBR for the week. Smart idea? Probably not. After reading Scythe just over a week ago though, I am eager to get into the sequel ASAP so why not tomorrow? Also, I could count it for the challenge to read a book with green on the cover because the whole thing is in fact, green. I also started reading volume one of Fullmetal Alchemist (why can’t I read the books I planned to, I have no idea!)…I don’t plan on counting it towards my TBR, but if I end up failing at reading for the rest of the week, I will definitely consider finding a challenge for it!

Anyways, that is all for this reading update and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget out to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts all linked below. This BookTubeAThon, I have been participating in the Instagram challenges, so if you are curious to see mine check out my Instagram 🙂

Last Blog Post: Literary Magazines for Young Writers

 

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Literary Magazines for Young Writers

It is a great idea to take advantage of all the amazing literary magazines steered towards young writers if you are, and because of that I put together a list of a few magazines just for you to submit to! Make sure you check out my blog post where I give tips to young writers and talk about how important it is for writers to submit their work and you can do that right here 🙂

Cricket

Fiction: 600-1,800 words Non-Fiction: 1,200-1,800 words Poetry: up to 35 lines

The Adroit Journal

Prose: 3 pieces up to 3,000 words each piece Poetry: up to 6 pieces Art: up to 8 pieces

Apprehension Magazine

Prose: 15 pages, double spaced Poetry: up to 6 pieces, single spaced Non-Fiction: up to 12 pages

The Claremont Review – April 15-March 15

Prose: 1,500 word maximum Poetry: up to 3 poems Visual Art/Photography: up to 6 images

The Concord Review

History Essay: 4,000-6,000 word maximum

Rookie Magazine

Accepts fiction, non-fiction, rants, raves, humor, poetry, etc

Those are a few literary magazines to submit to, and I hope that you submit to some! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as all my social media accounts linked below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Young Writers Guide to Writing

 

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