Writing and career advice from Blueprint for All
Blueprint for All, formerly known as the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, was founded in 1998. It believes that talent exists everywhere, but equal opportunities do not. Its mission is to create an inclusive society in which talent is respected and nurtured, regardless of race, ethnicity or background, and where anyone can thrive.
The charity achieves this through working with organisations and businesses to recognise and harness the advantages of a diverse workforce, and with schools, universities, community groups and employers, to inspire and enable young people aged 13–30 to pursue and succeed in the career of their choice. It also empowers communities across the UK to tackle inequality and discrimination for long-term, sustainable change.
Its programmes are organised into four key strands: careers, communities, society and a recently launched digital platform, 'My Blueprint for All'. These programmes encompass workshops, events, bursaries and mentoring opportunities, further supplemented by its social enterprise consultancy, Building Inclusive Futures, which sits alongside it. Many of these programmes focus on literary careers, including those in writing and publishing.
The Publishing Training Centre is partnering with Blueprint for All to offer those registered with the organisation free access to the e-learning module An introduction to publishing, until 31 December 2023.
Breaking into writing – and top tips
Eve Froude, the charity’s Communications and Content Manager, and Adjj Owusu-Darko, My Blueprint for All's Career Ambassador, share their experience and advice to those wanting to break into books, whether as a published author or working within the industry.
“The art of writing has always captivated the imagination of readers, marvelling at the ability of authors to craft literary masterpieces. One lesson I've learned through my own writing journey is the importance of taking that first step,” explains Eve. “Whether it's tapping away at a keyboard or scribbling ideas in a notepad, the act of beginning is far more rewarding than remaining in a state of creative inertia.
Writing, as an art form, holds immense potential for mastery, accessible to all who possess the right knowledge and dedication. While some may be naturally gifted writers, the journey of becoming a skilled writer often starts with short-form writing.”
The focus of Adjj’s work and writing is “to empower individuals to achieve their dream careers, whilst also creating valuable resources to support their professional endeavours. These resources range from how to write a CV to handling job rejection without taking it personally. All are designed to give you a deeper understanding of how to navigate your professional career and provide open access knowledge to people from diverse backgrounds who may not have had this opportunity before.
I’ve had a lot of experience landing jobs I didn’t quite feel qualified for, cold pitching and hearing nothing back,” says Adjj. “But from these experiences, I’ve also been lucky enough to have multiple wins along the way due to developing my writing skillset. Knowing your own personal experience and how it can help others is a surefire way to get good at writing. Here are some of my top tips:
- Just start: embark on your writing journey by capturing your thoughts and letting ideas flow freely.
- Ignore the mistakes: remember that the first draft is not meant to be flawless. Embrace imperfections and refine your work later.
- Write from familiarity: draw upon personal experiences to enhance authenticity and boost your confidence as a writer.
- Seek feedback: share your work with others, as writing ultimately serves a broader audience.”
Overcoming common hurdles
“The writing journey is not without its challenges, especially for those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, who may be aspiring to work in the publishing industry”, advises Eve. “Here are three common hurdles that individuals face when starting or progressing in their careers:
- Limited access to opportunities: many aspiring writers from disadvantaged backgrounds often lack the connections and resources necessary to enter the publishing industry. They may face barriers when seeking internships, work experience, or mentorship.
- Financial constraints: pursuing a career in writing, whether as an author or within the publishing industry, can be financially demanding. Costs associated with training, courses, and attending industry events can create significant barriers for those with limited financial means.
- Lack of representation: the publishing industry, like many others, has historically struggled with diversity and inclusion. Individuals from underrepresented backgrounds often face challenges in finding role models and mentors who share their experiences and can guide them in their careers.
Building a fulfilling writing career takes time and exploration to find the right stories and opportunities, but it is undoubtedly within reach. I stand as living proof of the possibilities that lie ahead!
To access further creative opportunities, check out My Blueprint for All, and be part of a network of like-minded people looking to expand their skillsets.