someukguy1 karma2013-12-17 21:53:58 UTC
Just write something every day, and read more than you write. I learn stuff from reading other people (so for example, The Magazine has five great, disparate stories every issue that invariably show five different angles of doing a story).
Write for your school paper, I guess, and the college one -- but it's not the be all and end all. I didn't, and am doing okay. The good news is that longform is in vogue, and that there are countless publications now who want writers and will when you're out of college. Some of them even pay well, too.
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someukguy1 karma2013-12-17 21:20:56 UTC
Can I be a dork and join in here? I'm young (apparently) and write longform nonfiction. What Glenn says is very true: you're not going to get an editor taking a huge commitment in time and money on you that often. I was lucky in that I actually did get that one-in-a-million editor taking a chance, but also it took perseverance and proving I could write at a shorter length.
But the main thing is to prove you can actually write. Editors will take shorter stuff from less experienced writers because it's less of an outlay for them with cash or editing time. Try and write some 5-600 word stories somewhere and get paid, then use that as proof that there's a reason an editor should take a chance on you writing something longer. Once you've done 1,000 word essays, move up again. Eventually, you demonstrate that someone should invest the larger longform budgets on you.
And largely the advice Glenn gave above to a commenter about how to get better at writing holds true here. Read a lot of long stuff, write regularly, and you get way better really quickly. Then pitch Glenn ideas. Then feel really smart.
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