A critical key to successful travel writing is to stay inspired and motivated. Travel writers are a unique group of people who are acutely observant and independent and have a need for expression… but they can often suffer from lack of creative inspiration.
Creative inspiration is wonderful when you have it, and frustrating when you don’t. But in my seven years of writing, I’ve discovered some strategies to help find and hold onto that inspiration. It seems to have worked—those seven years have resulted in seven published books, numerous website content-writing contracts, and several published articles.
Here’s what I do to find writing inspiration:
1. Early-morning exercise
I work full-time with flexible hours, and I find that dedicating my early morning hours to getting outside, moving my body, and working up a sweat helps me to stay inspired. Getting fresh air helps me to refuel, and, as a result, I find that when I sit down to write immediately afterward, ideas flow without a lot of effort. I can get twice the amount of work accomplished in the morning than at any other time of day.
2. Vision board
Every week, I sit down with my “vision board” to write my weekly goals and create the image of what I want to accomplish. At the end of every day, I review my goals to see if I’m on the right track and if I need to make changes due to editorial requests and upcoming deadlines. I find that having a vision board gets me to compete with myself by striving toward my goals. When I reach my goals, I like to reward myself with luxury spa treatments and gifts, which is also a source of motivation.
3. My creative success team
Finding a group of creative people whom I refer to as my “creative success team” has been an excellent source of motivation for me. I’m regularly in contact with passionate filmmakers, artists, and writers who share their successes, failures, and ideas. Spending time with other creative people can offer encouragement and can save me a lot of time. Recently, these relationships have become lucrative, too, as one led to me being selected as the content writer for a website.
4. Reading success stories
When I have breaks during the day or in the evening, I find it inspiring to read about other successful people who make it against all odds. I read extensively in a variety of genres and forms such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories, and—of course—travel articles. For me, it’s an easy way to gather ideas for current and future articles, and I use the online program Evernote to help keep things organized.
5. Gratitude journal
I started a gratitude journal several years ago, and, over time, I realized that I have a lot to appreciate. Every day is a blessing. There are many ways to utilize a gratitude journal, and I spend 15 minutes simply writing down all the positive things that happened during the day and how I feel about them. I use it as a way to shift into relaxation mode before drifting off to sleep. As John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”