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How To Create A Portfolio

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

One of the first questions you’ll get asked once you start announcing yourself as a writer is, what have you written? And this is, in a nutshell, what a portfolio is. As creative professionals, we try to sell ourselves to people we don’t know. It’s a little like proof; you’re showing a stranger what you can do and why they should like (and buy) you. Artists, filmmakers, models, fashion designers, photographers, and writers collect examples to show off to prospective clients or buyers in a portfolio.

While there are sites specifically designed for creating portfolios, any basic website will suffice. I use and only recently bought my domain. Simple is best; introduce yourself and the writing you specialize in, and provide links to your best or most recent work. I have a contact form on my website, which mostly gets mail from brands. And that’s it. That’s my portfolio.

In my experience, no one wants to see everything you’ve ever done. Instead, clients or editors will be curious about relevant and recent samples of your work. Are you pitching to a classic car collector’s publication? Then, I wouldn’t choose a white paper written for the pharmaceutical industry. Try to match your clips to the style of publication or, better still, the subject or industry.

The more you publish, the more extensive your portfolio will get, making a very long website or unruly Google Drive. One way I manage this is to collect and organize my clips by publisher or industry. When a prospective client or editor asks for a sample of your work, you’ll search your portfolio rather than sending 100 articles from disparate sources.

If you’re just getting started, use work from grad school, the school paper, or even create a sample article. Some publications will accept personal blog posts, social media posts, or even LinkedIn captions; use these to practice your writing style, crafting a story, and understanding an audience.

If you’re curious about learning how to create a sample article, uplevel your writing skills, or need one-on-one writing support, email me and let’s talk about your writing goals. I’m currently taking on new writing students for my fall semester. And if this email helped you, please share it! Have a great week.

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