It was New Year’s 2014 and time to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Thirty-plus years into a successful nursing career, I was ready for something different. Something fun for my retirement years.
A friend told me about the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop. I love to travel and figured I’d give it a shot and see what happens. So, I signed up. And the rest is history: 415 published articles later, I am one very happy lady!
In the nearly five years I’ve been a travel writer, I’ve honed several techniques to ensure my travel writing success—strategies that can work for you, too…
I made travel writing a habit
After I left the workshop, I made a promise to myself to do something every day that was related to travel writing. I didn’t want to forget everything I’d learned in those three incredible days.
Your practice can be anything from researching paying publications, or jotting down ideas for a story, to penning an article, or crafting a quality query.
It doesn’t have to be a major task each day, but keeping in practice makes the whole process so much easier.
I built a solid database of publications
Every successful travel writer will tell you they spend hours researching publications that accept freelance submissions. This can be done in a number of ways, and they all work.
When starting out, I stopped at my local bookstore and perused the magazine section. I conducted online research and picked up a Writer’s Market guide. Even small publications at the grocery store and car wash made their way onto my list of places to contact with my stories.
It took time in the beginning to collect all these into an Excel spreadsheet, but it was so worth it down the road.
I networked with other writers
When I began to surround myself with other experienced writers, that’s when the magic started to happen. Why? Because networking is paramount to a successful writing career.
Navigating the ever-changing travel-writing world can seem overwhelming. It’s impossible to know everything, but if we network with others, we all know more.
The best networking can be done at a workshop, like the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, by joining a travel writer’s program, and joining professional travel writer organizations.
Networking has netted me press trips, contacts at new publications, writing invitations from editors, and so much more.
I practiced my pitch
Marketing is the business of promoting and selling a product or service. So, what does that have to do with travel writing?
Very simply, the first product you’re selling is a story. The second product you’re selling is yourself.
To sell a story you need to get the attention of editors. This is done by crafting a top-notch query and story idea that is so intriguing the editor can’t help but say yes.
And selling ourselves involves letting others know we’re out there. Get business cards made; you never know when opportunity will knock.
Also, make sure to create a social media presence. Once editors and tourism board reps knew I was out there, they came knocking on my door, and it hasn’t stopped since.
I established a pattern of excellence
Your writing needs to be top drawer, giving editors exactly what they’re looking for. Strict adherence to writer’s guidelines and delivering captivating articles on time or ahead of time buys huge favor with editors. Remember: first impressions matter.
Have a good product, be a good product, be proud of your work, and it will be noticed.
These techniques put into daily practice really worked for me, and they can for you, too.