what kinds of writing samples are best to prepare for a first portfolio if you don't have any experience?
The thing is, you have a Tumblr. Go out and start interviewing people. Put it on your Tumblr. Write articles and put them on your Tumblr. Ask your local news outlet if you can freelance for them. Pitch a story. Show them your tumblr. Then, you can show pieces from your local news outlet to someone else. Etc. Etc. Etc.
“In fact, Bustle’s office culture vibe is so by-women, for-women that one former contributor didn’t recognize Goldberg’s name when I raised it in our conversation. “I had no idea a man was behind Bustle,” she told me. “Weirdly, that makes me like it much less.” She had assumed that her low pay rate was the product of a fledgling female-run startup that had struggled to secure funding from venture capitalists. When I sent her Goldberg’s now infamous PandoDaily announcement, she looked at the headline and said, “There’s $6.5 million behind it, and this is what they’re paying me?” I told her that Goldberg had since raised an additional $5 million. “Jesus,” she said.”—Bustle, one year later: Bryan Goldberg’s website for women is hugely successful.
“We will stop Dong Watch once there’s a female president, zero wage gap, and Swedish-level paid parental leave; once tampons, birth control, and abortions are all available free and on-demand.”—Why We Objectify Men Without Guilt — The Cut
“I’m now wondering if the abundance of more freeform music referenced in the text has also had a kind of structural effect in this book. There’s a lot to take in here: stories about groups of friends fragmenting and evolving over the years; unlikely epiphanies; ventures into unexpected corners of history–the Jewish community in Hong Kong, for example. These are characters that surprised me when reading the book: the ways in which they come together, the ways in which they evolve, the ways in which they hold true to principles or abandon them or jettison elements of their life because of them. That blend of groundedness and unpredictability ultimately creates a fantastic sense of the unexpected in Flings.”—Vol. 1 Brooklyn | Reading Justin Taylor’s “Flings” and Thinking Musically
“A potentially opinion-worthy topic presents itself. A community of professional take-havers finds itself obliged to opine. The takes they generate may or may not be strongly held; they may or may not add up to some sort of dialogue. Regardless, they will be forgotten by next week, when a new object of obligatory opinion-having looms into view.”—Molly Fischer - Salon.com
“Academics and pizza shop employees, the self-aware and the painfully deluded, a retiree, children at play in a Florida swimming pool—Taylor shows them all struggling with the daunting task of understanding love before it escapes them. The result is contemporary, intelligent, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. These stories, by turns witty and piercing, together form an uncommon portrait of the human heart.”—
“It’s not a career for anyone who needs or values security. It’s a career for gamblers. Every time you write a book you roll the dice again.”—George R.R. Martin, on being a writer (via elizabethminkel)
You find yourself a fucking taco, or a fucking beer, or a fucking taco and a beer, then you eat the fucking taco or drink the fucking beer or eat and drink both the fucking taco and the beer, and then you donate some money to an abortion fund. You fucking film yourself doing this shit and then you send us the fucking video and we put it on the fucking internet.
"BUT BUT BUT WAAAAHHHHH I DON’T KNOW ANY ABORTION FUNDS"
“Music consecrates everything and this was a holy moment… Jenny Lewis’s high, honeyed voice swarmed all the space between his ears, and everything she sang was the most important thing he had ever heard before, though he’d long known all these lines by heart.”—
There’s another excerpt I can’t post because of spoilers, but it’s about a guy getting a good rhetorical whack upside the head after spilling his sexual longings in the classic women-are-defined-by-my-desires way that I really identified with. Justin’s good at writing the whack-upside-the-head bildungsroman of the modern straight white man.
“By the novel’s end—which is blessedly free of even a whiff of so-called closure, and leaves us entangled in Elyria’s thoughts as she sits in a diner back in New York, “watching the rippled surface of my coffee quiver”—we have reached the idiosyncratic heart of the human mystery: we know this person profoundly well, but she might surprise us at any minute. Elyria has become interesting in the way that our dearest friends are, both familiar and profoundly not-us. I wanted to go on hearing her every passing observation, as though I might find salvation in the free-floating, embracing specificity of her details. For instance: “I walked into the library and the library smelled like every library I’d ever been in and Dewey decimals were on all the spines, same tiny font, tiny numbers, and I thought, for a moment, that there actually were things you could count on in this world until I realized that the most dependable things in the world are not of any significant use to any substantial problems.””—A Novel of the “Post-Wounded Woman” - The New Yorker
“The mystery for the reader is not whether Lydia is still alive, or where she’s gone — we learn on the first page that Lydia is dead, her body found at the bottom of the lake. We watch instead as the police come to the Lees’ home to ask the uncomfortable questions — Was she doing well at school? Who were her friends? Did she seem depressed? Did she ever talk about hurting herself? — and her parents, sister and brother all find themselves unable to answer honestly. The mystery is why they can’t bring themselves to tell one another, or the police, what they believe is behind her disappearance.”—
“Your rage should take the time to educate others about what has made it so inexplicably angry. If your rage uses that word, why can’t I? When your rage behaves like this, why is it surprised that others react badly to it? When we profile your rage we are reacting to the facts. Rage should shave its beard and unwind its turban. Rage should smile at catcallers.”—