The moment I set my heart on being a writer, I knew I could anticipate a big challenge ahead of me. I knew that the creative industry can be incredibly rewarding, but also difficult to break into.
Being a creative means that the path to success is far from linear and there is no set and structured plan to tell you how to make it work.
One of the key components of breaking into any industry is, of course, experience (I’m sure we’ve all heard that before!) It applies to almost every job; no one wants us unless we have experience, and we can’t get any experience unless someone given us the opportunity.
So there comes a point where we have to take matters into our own hands. We understand that opportunities are not flocking to us, but if we start hunting, we might just be able to find a few.
In light of this, here are five ways I have found (so far) to create my own opportunities, build my creative resume and load up on that experience that every boss wants me to already have.
1. Hashtags are your best friend!
Sure, they can get messy and overused, but they can be a valuable tool – if you’re willing to dig, you could find something great! Personally, I search hashtags on Instagram, but Twitter and other social networks work just as well. Type in any configuration of “#writeforus”, “#artistswanted”, and whatever else you can think of. See what comes up. There might not be something worthwhile every time, but keep trying and at some point you’ll strike gold. Who knows what you might find?
2. Read comment sections!
I know, this is probably the last piece of advice you expected to hear ( I know how comment sections can get vicious!), but it’s worth having a browse every now and then. Read what people have had to say underneath YouTube videos, blogs you follow, and Facebook pages. Sure, you’ll likely be filtering through a lot of rain before you land on any sunshine, but don’t be discouraged! All kinds of creative opportunities are advertised by their curators in this way, or even by people who just really support the cause. You could find something perfect for you, or maybe something new and unique that you can flaunt for your friends.
Enter them! Now, I’m not saying you’re necessarily going to win any contests, but finding and entering competitions can be great creative practice in more than one capacity. Firstly, it’s a nice warm up to get you searching for opportunities as you get used to digging up the good contests from the dark corners of the internet. Secondly, it’s a good way, for writing, painting, photographing, or whatever else it is you do, of learning how to create something from a set brief given by someone else, which will be a valuable skill in the working world. Give it a shot. You know what they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained and hey, if you win, wouldn’t that be a nice achievement to your name?
4. Google, google, google!
We live in the wonderful age of the internet, where information is at our fingertips and we need only to click a button to have the world light up our screens. Use it! Spend time searching the web for opportunities, publications and websites that accept submissions, or offer internships. Learn about your creative role models, and what avenues they went through to achieve success. Maybe, while you’re at it, you can pick up a few tips to improve your own work too! Everybody starts somewhere, so find out where it was, and you may well discover that it’s not so different from where you are right now.
5. Talk to people!
Simple, isn’t it? But effective. People love to share, and discuss things they’re doing, feel proud of, or are passionate about. Many opportunities can be sourced simply by speaking to people in relevant fields who have already found and are engaging in them. Make it a habit to listen to what your peers are saying, and to pick up on what might also suit you. Follow social media accounts that you feel you might have something in common with creatively, and follow that rabbit hole until something amazing appears at the other side.
Maybe you’re new to really fighting to break into your relevant industry. Maybe you’re already a pro at finding interesting opportunities in your chosen field (if so, please share and comment below!) Wherever you are in your budding creative career, I hope a few of these suggestions can help you on your way, and please be sure to check back in with us and let us know what you’ve found!
Shana Burns is a content creator with a passion for article and fiction writing. Her work has been featured in various publications, including ‘Girlfriend Magazine’, and ‘Badassery Magazine’, with several short stories also included in anthologies. Shana is currently a regular contributor for ‘The Mighty’, and recently presented a live stream via the ‘Chronic Illness on The Mighty’ Facebook page.