Most successful writers have done a lot of internship programs. While some have interned in publishing houses or with older writers, others probably spent time contributing to literary journals, anthologies and even literary events. The value of the internship programs didn’t change because they did or didn’t get cash payments. These wise writers realized that those internships were investments.
Many budding writers shy away from contributing to literary blogs and journals because they won’t get any emoluments. This is wrong. Sometimes, you need to be willing to work for free so that you can learn.
I once wrote about a well-known writer who I greatly admired. She was in her late teens when we were selected to attend an international creative writing workshop. Despite her age, she wrote so maturely, so beautifully that I concluded that she had been born an outstanding writer. Else how did she manage to effortlessly create all these fantastic error-free stories? When I summoned the courage to ask her, she told me her secret. She had done a ton of high school internships as a teenager. And when her father set up his own print press, she worked as an assistant editor, learning to read, write and proofread like a professional. By the time she was done with college, she had already gotten all the practical and theoretical work experience she needed as a professional writer.
In this article, I will explain in detail the different reasons writing internships are great for adults, high school and university students. I will also show you how a writing internship can boost your career prospects as a writer and help you land that mouth-watering book deal.
1. Offers A Chance To Test-run a Future Career In Writing
Most writers have academic backgrounds in fields that are completely different from creative writing. I have met prolific writers who hold university degrees in biology, electrical engineering, medicine and even agriculture. Sometimes, writers want to explore a different career path to see if it is a good fit for them. This is where an internship comes in.
I often recommend these internships for high school students because they often aren’t sure about the right career paths for them. While you’re considering that future career in astrology, law or reality TV star, you can try out internship positions in different fields of learning, including writing. Undergraduate and graduates can take up writing internships to help them determine if it is a career path they would like to continue in. The good this is that you can explore this path without the burden of a contract for a full-time job.
Writing internships are even more necessary because they give interns the chance to gain new knowledge, sharpen their communication skills and expand their networks. Moreover, you’ll need excellent writing skills to excel in any career you eventually decide to pursue.
2. A Writing Internship Improves The Quality of Your Resume
Internships in general, boost the applicant’s chances of landing a good job. A writing internship is more likely to give the job applicant an added advantage. Previous writing and publishing experience is something all human resource managers value in curriculum vitae.
These days, it is incredibly difficult for fresh graduates to find decent jobs because these they lack the experience employers want their workers to have. The same is the case for people who are switching to new careers. Candidates who had taken up relevant internship positions during their high school and college days might not have to face this dilemma.
Take time out to gain on-the-job experience working in a field you would like to pursue as a future career. If you know in your heart, that you might want to consider writing part-time or fulltime, perhaps you should take up an internship position in the local newspaper house or literary blogs like Okadabooks blog, Creative Writing News, Brittle Paper and so on. Sometimes, you don’t have to wait for calls for submissions. Write to the editors and offer your services. You’ll never know how it might pan out until you try.
3. An Internship Gives You A Foot In The Door
A budding writer once volunteered to read manuscripts for a literary agent. When his novel became ready, he didn’t have to go through the long haul of writing cover letters and sending them out to literary agents. No. With his experience as a beta reader, he revised his masterpiece and submitted it to his boss. The literary agent read his manuscript and agreed to represent him. Of course, his agent got him a publisher and a juicy deal.
Another writer volunteered to create content for a literary blogger. The blogger, in turn, introduced him to a literary agent who was looking for the kind of work this writer wrote. And voila! His internship paid off.
Most times, internships are extended job interviews. If you work diligently as an internship, you could land a full-time job or better still, a fantastic book deal.
4. Expand Your Professional and Social Network (and Get Excellent Referees
You are probably wondering, what if the company doesn’t eventually retain me as a full staff? What if the literary editor doesn’t do more than editing my work for free? Well, you could make the most of your contacts.
When you work in and contribute to the literary scene, you meet a lot of agents, publishers, book promoters and even other possible employers. For instance, writers often know the best online hiring platform for freelance writers.
Belonging to the right social circle will make it easier for you to know when there are vacancies, writing contests or residencies.
One easy way to build and expand your network of writers is by doing internships. You’ll never know what professional might help you in the future.
Conclusion (and Bonus Tip)
HR experts often recommend internships for everyone, both young and old. Writing internships are very valuable especially in our high tech, Internet-reliant world. You’ll never know when the skills you acquire will come in handy. If you’re a parent, encourage your youngsters to do as many internships as they can manage. If they start doing these internships in as early as high school, they will acquire a ton of experience by the time they get to college. On-the-job experience is a great way to build and write convincing CVs. Internships will definitely go a long way to boost their career prospects not only in writing but in other fields as well.
Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam writes prose fiction and non-fiction. Her first novel, Finding Love Again was published by Ankara Press. She owns and runs www.creativewritingnews.com.