Travelling with a Pen in Hand
By Deborah Owen
Travel writing pays well and is a perfect way to pick up extra income, but most creative writers don’t take advantage of this. Why?
- It takes extra time
- If you haven’t done travel writing, it can be intimidating
Travel writing is available to everyone – even those who don’t travel. The trick is to look at commonplace locations as though you are seeing them for the first time.
Where to Begin
Start reading travel magazines and pay close attention to how the articles are written. Magazines use various styles of writing. Choose the one that uses articles similar to your writing style. Analyze the articles. Do they use a lot of interviews? Pictures? Quotes? Statistics? What style do they like? What angle? There are no new subjects so the angle is everything.
Travel magazines like articles on little “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants that no one knows about. Tell your audience how you found it, what they serve, how it tasted, prices, atmosphere, and background information such as who owns it and when it was founded. Review some of the clientele.
Always be armed with a camera, a notepad, pen and a tape recorder. Get in touch with the owner or manager and take a few pictures. Magazines pay extra for pictures and they add a lot of human interest.
The field of traveling is wide open. You can write an article on a park, a museum, gas station, antique shop, taxidermy studio, an old-fashioned drugstore, a lake – almost anything can become a travel story.
Tell how long it took to travel to that destination. What unusual things did you see there? What do other tourists think of the place? What other places can you compare it to? You can write virtually dozens of articles on one trip.
Target the Right Market
Most writers don’t get their articles published because they don’t do the proper market research and don’t know how to choose their market. ALWAYS check the publisher’s guidelines.
Search the Writers Market on the Internet and get their online edition, which is approximately $40, but competition is likely to be heavy. The online edition is updated every month, whereas the book is updated yearly. Look for the markets that suit your material best. You will also be able to file your prospects in folders and keep track of your submissions on that site.
Note: Keep good records. Know when you submitted your document, where you sent it, the name of the editor, and when their guidelines say they will respond. If you haven’t heard from them a week past their estimated time of response, send an inquiry.
If you’re a new writer, search this free database for less competition: WorldwideFreelance. You need not query the market. Just send your article with a cover letter and self-addressed, stamped envelope. And remember, success lies in persistence, so submit a new article every week.
Finally… if you sell an article from a vacation trip, you can write part of your expenses off on your taxes. Ask your accountant about this.
So why not try travel writing this year? Be thorough in your research, take good pictures, perfect your work, match it to the right market and, above all, enjoy it… travel writing is fun!
Some Helpful Tips
by Deborah Owen
More often than not, writer’s block is caused by not writing regularly.
Most people are overcome and overwhelmed when writer’s block strikes, and rightly so. A writer who can’t write is much like a pianist who can’t play. Worse yet, writer’s block will carry over into other areas of your life. Don’t let depression and discouragement get you down. It’s vital to stay positive in order to get back in control.
Organization is the key to breaking writer’s block. Start by organizing your life in little ways, by setting short-term goals. Reasonable goals. For example, brush your teeth at the same time every day, or sweep one room at the same time every day. Try to eat at the same time. Get up the first time the alarm clock goes off, and go to bed at the same time every night. The idea is to gain control and meet your goals. When you can live a somewhat regulated life for a week or two, it’s time to work on your writer’s block in a more direct way.
Sit down to write for at least 15 minutes a day, every day. Inasmuch as possible, do it at the same time. What you write isn’t important. Write what you’re thinking about, or write a biography. Write about your parents or a childhood sweetheart that jilted you. Write about something that makes you mad or your problems in life. Anything emotional. If you can’t even write about that, write about the inability to write. Just write! Before two weeks are out, you will rediscover the muse (inward creative stirring) and you’ll be on your way again.
To prevent losing the muse, continue writing at the same time every day, and when you’re ready to take a writing course, remember Creative Writing Institute, where every student receives a personal tutor.
Don’t be satisfied with less than the best. Check it out today.
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