How I became a writer in the conservative movement, and how you can, too

Have patience and accept the fact that not every single submission will make it, and you will see yourself steadily building a collection of articles.

I had almost no professional writing experience when my first op-ed was published six years ago.  
I had just read an article vilifying Israel in The National Interest, painting the Jewish State as a theocratic, oppressive society akin to Iran. Feeling frustrated at seeing my home country so ludicrously attacked, I wrote a rebuttal and submitted it on a Friday. I did not expect anything to come of it—who wanted to hear the opinion of some D.C. newcomer who wasn’t even a famous writer?  
This made it a much greater surprise when, the very next Monday, I saw my article on the front page.  
That experience, though a modest success, was the beginning of my writing career. It felt good to channel my disagreement productively with someone’s misrepresentation of a cause I cared about (instead of, say, just being a keyboard warrior on social media). So I did it more and more, sending my submissions to different conservative publications. Sometimes they were accepted, and sometimes they were not, but over time, I gradually built a steadily growing portfolio as a freelancer.  
The experience and joy I got from freelancing eventually launched a writing career that led me to be a senator’s speechwriter and, currently, managing editor at Campus Reform.  

I share this story to encourage aspiring conservative writers who also find fulfillment in putting pen to paper but might find the idea of actually beginning such a career to be daunting, asking: “Where do I even start?”  
An encouragement in my example is the fact that I lacked any real writing experience when I first started out—yet my first article was still published. What I learned from that occasion and from subsequent experience is that you don’t need to be William Shakespeare to get published.  

What I mean is this: Even if you are not a professional writer yet, as long as you produce articles that are easy to read, concisely written, timely (meaning they address events that happened within 24-48 hours), well-researched, and with no spelling or grammatical mistakes, odds are they will get published by one of the myriad conservative publications that take freelance submissions, such as The Daily Signal, The Federalist, or The Washington Examiner
Have patience and accept the fact that not every single submission will make it, and you will see yourself steadily building a collection of articles.  
Sure, you won’t become a presidential speechwriter or an editor-in-chief overnight, but the more articles you have under your name, the more you can prove your skill to future employers.  
Once you have started adding to your portfolio and proving you can write well, how do you actually get a writing job?  
For that, you should turn to one of the many conservative job banks to get regular updates about job opportunities, including The Heritage Foundation Job Bank, Talent Market, Conservative Partnership Institute’s Job Bank Initiative, Red Balloon, or the Leadership Institute’s own Conservative Jobs.
A quick search on Talent Market, for example, will show you a job opening as a Staff Writer for Do No Harm—a group “focused on keeping identity politics out of medical education, research and clinical practice.” 
Digging deeper, you will also find that you can become a Public Relations Associate for Young Voices, a group whose mission is “to cultivate the next generation of thought leaders for liberty in policy, journalism, and academia.”  
If you look at Red Balloon instead, you will see that The Daily Caller is searching for an Analysis Writer with a “proven track record of writing analysis pieces that are thoughtful, detailed, balanced and most importantly, different from all the other analysis you read on the internet.” 
If you are still a student and interested in covering liberal bias in our nation’s colleges and universities, you should also consider becoming a paid correspondent for Campus Reform. Working as one of our student journalists grants a unique chance to hone your writing and even to appear on national media. Capitalizing on their skills acquired and polished at Campus Reform, our correspondents have gone on to work for Fox News, The Daily Caller, the Washington Examiner, and on Capitol Hill.   
And if you can’t find anything that matches your qualifications or interests, don’t be afraid to take your time and start with a conservative internship at the Leadership Institute, Heritage FoundationFamily Research Council, or one of D.C.’s other conservative nonprofits. The connections and networks you build will be an added boost as you apply for jobs when you do end up seeing an opportunity that fits your talents.  
Whether you’re freelancing or just found a full-time job in the writing business, some good general writing tips are:  

1. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Submitting an article without typos or grammatical errors might seem like a no-brainer, but those mistakes can be easy to overlook, and it makes you look much more professional when you turn in a clean copy.  

2. Get used to working in a fast-paced environment. Many writing jobs, whether in a communications team on Capitol Hill or a newsroom, can be intense because much of the work is driven by the news cycle.  

3. Get used to different writing styles. A speechwriter job in the Senate, for example, might require you to write not only speeches but also op-eds and press releases, the latter of which are shorter and more bite-sized compared to an article. 

4. Read good books and articles about writing. Two great examples are “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, a short introduction to the art of writing full of advice for both beginners and old-timers, and George Orwell’s fantastic essay, “Politics and the English Language.” 

Few writers have attained instant success, but if you cultivate patience, read widely, consume the work of great authors, write prolifically, and face the occasional rejections of your submissions with equanimity, you can build a great career as a conservative writer.  

Editorials and op-eds reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of Campus Reform or the Leadership Institute.