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Mia asks, "I have been teaching high school English for three years. I would like to pursue a writing career. I would like to get an internship to help me gain experience, but most internships require you to be a student and they require several clips. I don't fit either of those prerequisites. What can I do to get some experience?"

Hi Mia,

It's not necessary to get an advanced degree. You can do several things. Don't give up on internships because that is one good way to transition from one profession to another. Don't hesitate to go down to some publication, a newspaper or magazine, and ask about internships and your willingness to intern. That simple, direct approach sometimes works.

Another excellent thing to do is build up a file of clips by writing articles on subjects you know about and care about. You can write for newsletters, the local paper, and so forth. If you concentrate on one or two subjects you have a greater chance of publishing. Once you've developed clips you can leverage your way into writing positions.

The other thing to consider is narrowing down your career path. You want to determine whether you want a full-time, staff writing position or freelance. You want to determine whether you to work for a large organization or a small one. And you need to determine what region you want to work in.

You might check out some of these books:

  • Career Opportunities for Writers by Rosemary Guiley
  • Opportunities in Journalism Careers by Ferguson and Patten
  • Great Jobs for English Majors by DeGalan and Lambert

The one thing about the writing profession is that it's about talent. If you have the talent and professional skills then you will make it as a writer. It's a very competitive field so look at your experience and skills for your competitive advantage.

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