How to Become a Relationship Columnist

Within the wide field of journalism and essay/opinion writing, there are many kinds of niche markets that writers can get into. One of these is the general community of those who consider themselves "relationship experts" or "love advice guides." These kinds of individuals often approach a professional role as a columnist or resident writer for a magazine, newspaper or Web publication. For those who want to become a relationship columnist and offer their advice for the amorously challenged, a few common steps recommended by experienced columnists and others will help an aspiring writer reach success in this specific writing market.


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    Get good at writing. Develop the kinds of technical and intuitive skills that help an individual become a good writer. This includes practice in spelling and grammar issues, as well as attention to various styles like Associated Press, Chicago style and other professional writing formats.
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    Pursue applicable degrees. There is no degree requirement necessary for a relationship columnist, but these days, most of the established journalists who pen various column topics have a degree in English communications or journalism, with an appropriate concentration in the kind of media skills that help a journalist or writer to succeed in their careers.
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    Build up your clips. The majority of successful writers approach the beginning of their career with a considerable collection of writing clips in a portfolio that they can show to potential employers or clients.
    • Pursue journalism or related internships. Internships are a great way to get experience and build a portfolio of clips. Many new journalists include an internship in their college experience in order to complement an existing English or journalism degree.
    • Find out about other practical venues for gaining experience. Some relationship experts start out by moderating or contributing to love advice forums on the Internet. Others may volunteer their services at public events to get visibility and jumpstart personal blogs or other communications focusing on relationship advice.
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    Find employers and clients. Someone who wants to become a relationship columnist will often end up with a variety of options, including some employee or wage work but mostly consisting of work-for-hire or independent contracting work. Publications often pay columnists and other writers as freelancers, rather than giving them a full-time job position, in order to get relationship advice columns.
    • Do research into employers in your area, as well as telecommuting opportunities. Find out how newspapers, magazines and other venues structure their editorial staff and apply accordingly.
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    Build relationship advice columns into a functional business. Most modern columnists now approach their writing as a one-person business rather than as a traditional job role. Columnists can easily have more than one column in multiple publications, where their job roles and their incomes are diversified.
    • Keep working contacts. Develop as many column roles as possible across various publications in case one project terminates or does not work out for any number of reasons.
    • Pursue syndication. One way that relationship columnists and other essay writers stay in business is by getting syndicated, where multiple publications may pay for the same content.
    • Examine tax and paperwork aspects of a freelance business. Relationship columnists are within that wider group of people that often have to approach their writing with a critical financial eye. Examine the maximum amount of money that relationship writing can bring in, and always be flexible about increasing income to meet family budget demands. Experts suggest continually working to build a business from a single column into a syndicated column with advanced opportunities and side projects, such as books, that will bring in much more income down the road.

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