Although we can’t offer office-based work experience, especially to those under 18, for those who are interested in pursuing a career as a writer and seeking relevant work experience, here is a range of options that we suggest and that we can support with:
Be part of a writing community
You can join a Spark Young Writers group (if you’re not already) which will help develop you as a writer as well as show you the benefit of having writerly peers to share your writing with and get positive feedback from – the equivalent of continuing professional development.
Lead part of a writing workshop
Writers often have to do work that isn’t directly writing for themselves in order to make a living. Running writing workshops is a great way to do this, as it is still really closely linked to writing, and uses those skills too. If you are a member of a Spark Young Writers’ group, we could offer you an opportunity to lead part of a workshop – usually a warm-up exercise. Our lead and assistant writer would work with you – often just before or after your usual session – to help you plan and practise what you’ll do. They would then support you during the delivery of the warmup session, and give you feedback afterwards to improve your skills as part of their debrief once the session is over.
Submit your writing to a magazine
We have our Spark Young Writers’ magazine which is published online twice a year. You could submit work to that and, while I can’t make any guarantees about it being accepted, you’ll get feedback from a professional editor either way. Submission details here: https://www.sparkwriters.org/get-involved/
Write a review
Another thing to try would be to write a review of a Sparks event that you have attended. Perhaps you attended a one-off workshop, or the Summer Writing Challenge, or our Conference. We’re always looking for content and ways to promote our work to young people. If we can use it as part of a marketing campaign or on our blog, we will. Writers often write “speculative” pieces – bits of writing that they haven’t been commissioned to write but write anyway in the hope that someone will be interested and pay them for publication. Writers might go on holiday and write about the experience – either as a whole or about a particular thing – and then try and sell it to a travel magazine, or an in-flight magazine to help to cover the costs of the holiday, which they would have taken anyway. Now, we wouldn’t pay you, but it would be a good little extra in terms of work experience.
A collection of these things, although individually quite small and short lived, do add up to a great representation of a writer’s life. I’m sure you could think of more too – a lunchtime reading of your work in your school library perhaps, asking school to commission you to write a poem for a special occasion, or write a short play for a drama group, write song lyrics for your friend’s band, write a piece for the local paper about an issue that you’re passionate about – there are endless opportunities within your grasp.