Fake it ’til you make it. I mean, don’t lie on your resume, but feel free to be a little…aspirational in your description of yourself on your personal site and in your Twitter bio. Do you obsessively follow tech news and want to write for Wired, but pay the bills by writing up community meetings for a suburban newspaper? Change your bio to “Reporter at Podunk Daily and freelance tech writer.” Then write about tech on your personal platforms, where you’ll develop ideas and build credibility. Never describe yourself as an “aspiring” anything.
Former GOOD editor Ann Friedman (who is now part of the team putting together Tomorrow magazine), has some terrific advice for people who are trying to jumpstart their writing careers, but what she says above can be applied to pretty much any sort of job you’re hoping to have.
My mother did not dream about becoming a dancer. She said she was a dancer, and then started dancing (she hasn’t stopped since). I remember this one time in high school when my Spanish teacher asked me what I planned on doing with my life, and I said, “I’m going to work for Snapple, and come up with new flavors that people will love.” I was mostly joking (because I imagined working at Snapple in product development actually sounded like it would be fun), but I had said it with such conviction that she actually got in touch with the company for me. I was really amazed, and it just goes to show you that you never know who’s listening to you, or reading your blog, or checking out your twitter account and will help you get to where you want to go. Also, it sort of proves that The Secret totally works.