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How to Put Together a Creative Writing Portfolio

This is a brief article about how to create a writing portfolio to best display your works.

Many people on creative writing courses have little or no experience, therefore, the number of pieces they already have for a writing portfolio is normally limited if they have any at all. So, what do they do to get a portfolio together?

Well I started a writing course last year after not doing any writing since leaving school other than writing up assignments for college and university, nothing creative at all. Recently I started searching the internet to help me understand what I needed to include in a writing portfolio and was bombarded by different results about college portfolios, authors portfolios and many sets of instruction on how to put a business portfolio together. None of these really catered for my needs.

I decided to put my own portfolio together following guidelines and instructions meant for portfolios for other uses, here is what I have included:

  • A cover page with my details on, kept simple.
  • A letter of introduction/biography and small image of myself.
  • A contents page split into categories.
  • A page of links where my work has been published.
  • My academic assignments in creative writing from this year with tutors and peers comments.
  • Two news articles I have written for a local youth group I work with.
  • Two 500 word activities from the course.
  • Five poems of differing styles and themes.
  • Three pieces of descriptive writing.
  • Two pieces of life writing in different styles (biography and autobiography)

When I asked other people one my course what they had done about portfolios none of them had thought about it or if they had, they didn’t know how to go about putting one together. There are so many ways to produce a portfolio of writing works that it’s sometimes difficult to know which way is best for you. The problem is, everyone has different needs and requirements.

In an age of digital media do we even need a hard copy? Well that’s personal preference; some people like to have a hard copy in a binder or display folder with the work kept pristine in plastic sleeves. It is also useful to be able to take a hard copy to prospective clients.

But I want to be able to send it to clients over the net? That’s fine too. It is possible to compile your portfolio as one document either in a word document or a pdf file that you can send either via email or put on to disc or other memory device such as a media card or USB stick.

What about putting it onto the web and just emailing them the link? There are a number of issues that could arise doing it this way, the first thing you would need to decide is how much do you want to display? It is also very impersonal sending clients a web link and password for your site as it hasn’t been tailored for them specifically. Would you get your own domain name and hosting space or use free space that has difficult to remember names? Would you password protect some of your site so only clients that have been in contact with you can see? You also have to design the layout of the site or space and decide how to compile the work. The other big issue is plagiarism, if your work is on your site all the time, even though it is copyrighted to you, others may copy and post it elsewhere, do you want to run this risk?

So what did I do? After reading through a number of advice pages, I decided on a hardcopy in a display file and a copy on pdf that can’t be tampered with that I can email out on request or put on disc or memory card to back up. Again this is personal preference and what is right for me, you may decide on something completely different.

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