As German theologian Meister Eckhart once said, “suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
Each new year brings new dreams, new plans, and new starts. And for travel writers, it’s the perfect time to re-examine priorities and improve skills.
Every year since 2014, when I launched my travel writing career, I’ve created a tiered personal improvement plan that includes ways I can improve my writing—and find opportunities for more published stories.
There are definitely things I’ve learned along the way that have helped me turn my plans into success stories…here’s five:
1. Think positive—we become what we think.
The human mind is an extremely powerful tool, and we need to use it to our benefit. Negative thoughts like “I can’t” and “I’m afraid I’ll fail” must be replaced with positives like “Yes, I can” and “If I try, I may succeed.” Harness the power of positive thinking.
For years, I’ve started my day with an inspirational quote I hang in my workspace. It’s a constant reminder to keep my thoughts positive no matter what comes my way. We can’t control everything around us, that’s true, but we can control how we react. And it sure helps when we’re coming from a good-vibe space.
2. Write from your happy place.
One of the rules of life is to do what makes us happy, right? Well, this applies to our writing as well. We need to write about things we believe in, that inspire us, and that are true expressions of our nature and character.
Forced writing is just that—forced. If a writer who writes about wine doesn’t like to drink it, their writing will not reflect the excitement and joy of a true wine lover.
3. Commit to your craft.
Simply telling a story is not enough. Good writers’ pieces take the reader on a journey by using quotes, the senses, and evocative words.
Good writers also commit to researching new publications for submissions and approach higher-visibility outlets with better media trip opportunities.
4. Build your network.
When I began to surround myself with other experienced writers, that’s when the magic really began. 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 in networking with others, we all learn more. We benefit from each other’s expertise. Several are masters at social media, others are amazing photographers, and some know the process of landing those all-inclusive press trips.
Networking can help us find new publications, receive writing invitations from editors, and so much more.
5. Invest in yourself.
Many of us held professional and technical jobs and wore different hats prior to breaking into the world of travel writing. Even in those past careers, we had to make investments in ourselves to move up the ladder of success.
It’s no different in the world of travel writing. If you really want to succeed you have to invest in yourself. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly how I launched my career in 2014—I attended the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop.
Each year I make a commitment to attend a relevant workshop that helps improve my writing, photography skills, marketing techniques, or social media expertise. I also belong to professional travel organizations like ITWPA (International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance) and IFWTWA (International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association) that offer ongoing seminars and opportunities for continued education.
Is it worth it? Well, I just had my 600th article published!
All these things I’ve done have been part of my success plan. I didn’t go it alone, I believed in the power of networking. I committed to and invested in my craft. I always strive to write from a happy place, and lastly, I stay as positive as I can.
It’s been a great ride so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend. I truly believe the same success can come to any writer out there if you’re dedicated to making a plan and are loyal in following it.
I still subscribe to the old adage, “if I can do it, so can you.” And it’s true.