Jennifer was one of those youngsters whose beautifully written stories made me go green with envy. Often she would churn out piece after piece in every genre. Her fiction and personal essays were not just logical and inspirational; they were also filled with rounded characters, memorable scenes and excellent sentences. I wanted to know how she never ran out of steam, how she kept producing all these award-winning works.
She smiled at me after I’d asked my question. “High school internships,” she said.
“You write so well as a result of your high school internships?” I frowned a little to show that I was serious about my inquiry.
“Yes. You know what internships are, right?” she giggled and looked around. “Internship: an official program or an apprenticeship where inexperienced people can gain on-the-job experience in their chosen field.”
I nodded and gestured for her to continue.
“I spent most of my high school vacation interning with publishers,” said Jennifer. “At some point, my father operated an academic publishing house. There, I learned to edit and rewrite manuscripts. The trade required a lot of reading and all.”
Everything made perfect sense. She had invested so much time working and learning a craft she loved and now she was making a lot of money as a top-rated freelance content and story writer.
Today, many youngsters work part time or full time at online and offline companies or corporations. Most internships are for a specified duration. In my little corner of the world, internships are more popular amongst undergraduate and post-graduate students, usually in the third and fourth years of the college degree course.
There are two types of internships:
- Paid internships
- Unpaid internships
During my university days, I accepted both paid and unpaid internship positions. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. What I learned though is that the intern always benefits immensely from assisting the expert. Don’t be afraid to work for free. Read Pamelyn Casto’s post to see how she began earning thousands of dollars from writing for free.
My Experience As A Writing Intern
I worked as a journalism intern after I had graduated from the university. It was a paid internship position. I was happy to learn the different aspects of writing and editing news reports, opinion and feature pieces. With time, I gained enough experience to be employed as a full staff of the newspaper firm.
In this article, I will outline and explain the most valuable benefits one can get from working as a writing intern especially in the internet age where content is king (as Bill Gates put it). If you intend to set up a blog or write professionally for one, take time to contribute content to blogs you admire. Blogs are always looking for content. If you get a rejection from one blog, you can always send the content to another blogger (especially one that will give you feedback). Storywriters and poets can intern with publishers, literary journals and literary agents. Working as a beta or alpha reader can teach you a lot about the elements of WordPress blogging, poetry or fiction writing. The on-the-job training can also teach you what editors look out for in stories.
Now, let’s get to the top 5 benefits of internships for high school students, undergraduates and everyone who might be trying to make a living from writing. The rest of this article will focus on the ways internships can improve the writer’s chances of meeting the demands of the job market.
1. A Good Way To Acquire Valuable Work Experience In The Writing Field
Every writer knows that on-the-job experience is far more valuable than classroom lessons. This isn’t to say writing courses are not useful. Take writing courses and attend creative writing workshops. You’ll learn a lot from them. However, you will only get better if you practice all you’ve learned.
By the time Jennifer arrived at the international writing workshop we attended together, she had already learned what mistakes to avoid and what made a good story or essay. She had gotten a great deal of practice.
Not only did she gain specialized skills in the writing field, but she also acquired transferable skills such as formal and informal communication, teamwork etiquettes, computer proficiency and more. This explained why she found it easier to land juicy writing jobs and to win writing contests. If you want to make a headway in your writing career, start an internship.
2. Gives You Added Advantage Over Your Competition
Another important benefit of internships is that it affords both high school students and undergraduates the opportunity to prove themselves as diligent and hardworking employees.
Research has shown that human resource managers often give higher points to applicants who have had a lot of experience interning in the field they are applying for. To increase your marketability, get a lot of on-the-job experience. Potential employers are likely to place more value on you.
The assumption is that applicants with internship experience need less training and supervision. In the writing world, higher salaries are given to writers who have had many writing, editing and publication credits.
Writers who are starting a new career are likely to be taken more seriously when they have internship experience.
3. Provides Opportunities To Build and Polish Your Writing Skills
Before I became a journalism intern, I struggled to write page-length error-free pieces. This was because I hadn’t gotten sufficient practice. If like Jennifer, I had enrolled for a high school internship, perhaps I wouldn’t have struggled so much as a print journalist.
One key benefit of a writing internship is that it will give you room to discover your strengths and weakness. The experience will also give you room to get expert advice on overcoming your weaknesses. Looking back, I can see how much my writing improved every time I got feedback from my bosses and colleagues. I could never have managed a thriving freelance writing career.
If you’ve been struggling to make progress as a writer, perhaps you need to attach yourself to a more successful writer. You’ll learn from accomplishing the tasks you’ll be assigned. You’ll also get a chance to ask questions, grow and excel as a writer.
4. Expand Your Social Network
Like in every other field, writing careers thrive when you belong to the right social circles. You can write in isolation, but you’ll have to know where the ready markets are. Sometimes, word of mouth, social media groups and the right social circles are the most common sources of exclusive information.
A writing internship will make it easier for you to meet the professionals that matter in the industry. Most literary agents, for instance, don’t read unsolicited submissions. The same goes for very big publishers. You could have a manuscript worth millions of dollars, but you’ll need to be in the right circles to know where to place your work.
Feel free to write or volunteer at writing events and blogs. You’ll never know who you’ll encounter during your internship. The connections you might get might help you land your first scholarship or book deal.
5. Boosts confidence
Unlike most writers I have met, Jennifer was—and still is—very confident in her abilities. It was obvious that she had tried out several techniques as a high school intern. Before she started writing professionally, she had sharpened her skills in a safe environment where mistakes don’t attract dire consequences. This is obviously better than learning the hard way in a writing world that is fraught with rejections.
You can start by sending articles and essays to Creative writing news . Our submission guidelines are on the write for us page.