Ann Friedman, formerly the editor at GOOD magazine, shares her advice for young writers and editors on navigating the early years:
Write something short every day. Don’t wait for an invitation to write for a major publication. Or even a minor one. Invest time and energy in the spaces you control: your blog and Twitter account. (I’m assuming you already have both of these things because you are no fool.) Use them to dash off quick opinions and keep track of things you’re interested in exploring at greater length. This won’tprevent you from pitching these ideas to paying outlets or combining them into bigger projects — it’ll prepare you to do exactly that. When you apply for a job or pitch a freelance piece, editors will google you. Until you’ve got a lot of great clips (which will take a while), you want them to be able to find your awesome idea. You want them to be able to, at the very least, see what other publications you read and what kind of thinker you are.
There is great advice throughout the piece, all worthy of your attention. Be wary of the Fake it ’til you make it point though. That can get out of control and cause trouble in a hurry.
My advice for those first five years starts like this: take a deep breath.
Want the rest? Come see me in the office.