At Great Escape’s recent Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in New Orleans, I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the attendees already have or are working on their own blogs.
They weren’t in the majority, by a long shot – but their numbers are clearly growing.
As for the other attendees, I was also struck by how many of them had a vague sense of why a blog might be a good idea, or had been thinking about maybe, someday, starting a blog — but they just didn’t feel like it had to happen.
It does sometimes seem as though blogging is this big, difficult, mysterious thing out there that has to be conquered… but that doing so might not be worth it.
I disagree. I’ve watched as many, many travel writers made the transition from that first timid blog post to enjoying full-blown careers as freelancers.
Here’s why every freelance travel writer needs to start a blog:
Blogging improves your writing
When I look back on my first stories for a newspaper — from 30 years ago – I am horrified by how juvenile the voice is, how I obviously lacked confidence, and how clunky and awkward the writing is.
When you’re just starting out as a freelancer and there aren’t as many opportunities to write, a blog is an ideal vehicle for the number one way to improve as a writer: practice, practice, practice.
Blogging puts you in a more disciplined frame of mind
Being beholden to posting on your blog, updating past posts, and responding to comments all helps to prepare you for what a career in freelance travel writing really looks like.
If you can commit to posting regularly on your blog, then you’ll find it easier and faster to organize your writing and query editors. You’ll also gain a good sense for what readers like and respond to the most.
Blogging can get you discovered
Years ago, while at the Denver Post, I was delighted to hire four regular travel bloggers to write monthly articles on their travels in the newspaper. Three still write for the paper, and they have been pretty vocal about how this opened up opportunities for them that they might not have had if they hadn’t been featured regularly for a major daily newspaper – things like travel and other offers of freelance.
I found each of these writers through their blogs and the same thing can happen to you!
Editors are always searching the Internet for talent, and a blog is one of the most prominent ways to get your work seen and read.
Blogging will make you more confident
Starting anything new can be daunting and scary. Once you have a few posts under your belt, it will seem less so – especially when you start to get feedback from readers.
Remember, that’s why blogging started in the first place: as a consistently updated “weblog” or online journal on any topic, usually from a personal perspective and often with the goal of sharing information.
Once you’ve begun to do this regularly, the resulting conversations you’ll start with online readers will encourage feedback – good or bad, it will help you improve — and spur you on to posting more.
(Next in our blogging series: Find out the 3 best things about being a travel blogger.)