Hard work, paying dues can pay off for aspiring writers
Hardly anyone likes working for free, but most of us aspiring sportswriters have to take on countless unpaid assignments before we earn a dime. The journey to paid work is long and may seem thankless at times. But eventually, all the time you put in will very likely pay off, literally.
I have been writing for Bleacher Report since 2009, but my first contract offer did not come through until January of this year.
There are some steps you need to follow in order to start earning some money for all of your hard work.
First, you need to read a lot. Reading will expand your knowledge of the teams you are covering, and it allows you to see how articles are structured.
Second, if an editor asks a favor, or sends out volunteer assignments, jump on it. There may not be any second chances if you turn down these kinds of opportunities. Not only will these assignments give you extra chances for people to see your work, but being aggressive helps you stand out in the large crowd of unpaid writers.
Above all else, never lose sight of your goals. If being a sports journalist is your dream, do not let anything stop you from making it a reality.
Read an extra article, choose every word carefully in your own writing and always pay attention to the feedback from your editors. Each of those three things will allow you to make significant strides forward as a writer.
All of this is hard work and nothing comes easy in this business. But getting paid to cover sports is a heck of a lot more fun than any other job I can think of.
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One Thing You Need to Know is a series in which we ask our interns to write about just that: One thing they’ve learned in the B/R Sportswriting Internship that they would pass along to other aspiring writers.