One of the things people ask me all the time at political events, dinners, happy hours, etc, is how to get their writing published while in college or as a young politically-minded adult. I’ve been really lucky and started publishing my writing pretty early, and I’ve stayed consistent with that, but it’s all because of what I’ve learned along the way.
If you’re a young, conservative writer looking to get your work published, here are my five tips.
Write constantly and consistently
You’re not going to have success with your writing if you’re only doing it once a month. You’re not going to get published if you’re writing about the same thing at the same time as everyone else. Being a constant and consistent writer, even if no one else is reading it, helps you grow as a writer and keeps you primed for the time to be right. People recommend writing for yourself first, and I totally agree, but also keep writing about new and different things and you’ll learn what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, and ultimately what connects with readers.
Far too many young conservatives think they deserve to have their dime a dozen opinion broadcast on the Fox News morning shows the second it pops into their brain. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the general population doesn’t care what a college student has to say. Instead, earn your stripes by writing locally. Report for a school newspaper. Contribute op-eds about school related issues that you’re experiencing first hand. Leverage your connections on the ground before you start trying to sell yourself on the national stage. You’ll have more luck with some publications under your belt and you’ll be a stronger writer.
Too often people jump straight into writing opinion pieces without building up the skills you get from writing straight news stories. This could be reporting national, local, or just personal news. Learn how to write without infusing your opinion into every sentence and you’ll ultimately be a better op-ed writer down the line. I’m a strong believer that you don’t have to have an opinion about everything, but you can learn a lot by being on the front lines writing blurbs and squibbing stories about national defense, political happenings, school board elections,et cetera. People are also, in my experience, more likely to pay for this kind of writing, especially when it’s consistently done, and it’s more likely to be offered to college students and young writers since the opinion columnists are usually older and more experienced.
If you can’t find an opportunity, make one
Too many young writers look around, don’t see people like them getting published, and give up. Why not work on publishing yourself? Create your own opportunity. Start a blog, or a Twitter account, or a school magazine, or a newsletter. Writing is an amorphous thing these days. Journalists are just as known for breaking news tweets as breaking news stories. People write Instagram posts and make money off of that. You can find a way to get your words out there, you just have to be creative. I run a book blog that allows me to review the kind of books I read a lot (fiction) which has given me a lot of opportunities to connect with authors and readers, read books early, and has made me a stronger writer overall. No one pays me for that, but I like it. If you’re just writing for a big paycheck, you need a reality check.