Hi Sam. I started my writing career… by writing, and submitting my work until people would pay me for it.
When I graduated from university (Media & Comms, University of Sydney) I knew I wanted to write. I also knew what I wanted to write about (gender, social issues, politics), and who I wanted to be writing for (major newspapers and glossy magazines). I also knew that jobs at said publications were few and far between, and that my chances of getting one were low.
BUT - through my work as an editor at Vibewire, I knew a few other young writers who were getting work at those publications. So I decided to follow their lead and just start submitting my stuff until someone would publish it.
They did - and quite quickly - but it took about a year to turn that into a remotely liveable income, and two years to turn that into actual employment. I later decided I preferred working for myself, and now I’ve been freelancing full time again for two years. I couldn’t be happier, but it’s definitely not for everyone.
Other ways I’ve seen people start careers as writers/journalists include:
- Work experience/interning. The main avenue through which most people I know in magazines and broadcast got hired.
- Cadetships. Common in newspapers and broadcast.
- Taking jobs at less glamorous publications (trade magazines, local papers, etc) and leveraging that experience to get their foot in the door at their dream gig.
- Starting a blog and turning it into a business.
None of them are easy (or foolproof!), but all have worked for someone. I hope that helps. :)