Writing a travel article is fun. You go on an adventure, have a great time, and put your thoughts down on the page in a way you think is interesting and engaging. Then you send it off to an editor.
This is when the hard part comes—waiting to hear back. Oh no, the “what ifs” arrive…
What if …
They didn’t like it?
Your pitch was wrong? Or, horrible?
You did it wrong?
You haven’t heard back?
What if …
You doubt you can do this
You think you need more time
You start to think it’s too hard
Before the spiral comes and you throw travel writing in the “too hard” basket. Before you disappear down the rabbit hole of self-doubt, know that this happens to a lot of writers. I can guarantee that nearly every one of us has experienced this at one time or another. Especially when you are staring out. Know it is completely normal and you are not alone. It happens to everyone!
Here’s five quick easy tips that have worked for me to help manage the “what ifs” so you get back on track and send out that next pitch:
1. Remember why you want to be a travel writer
Less stress, more freedom, working anywhere in the world. Whatever the reason was that made you want to become a travel writer—reconnect with that reason again. Picture it in your mind.
Working on a laptop by the Caribbean. Snuggled by a log fire in a snow-covered chalet. Or nibbling a warm flaky croissant in a Parisian café. Relive your vision of your dream life.
2. Take a trip down memory lane
Take a moment. Make yourself a cup of tea, get comfy and spend half an hour looking back through your favorite travel photos. Reconnect with the feeling of being in those places again.
Fall back in love with travel so it re-ignites your passion of living your travel writer’s life.
Plus, this has the added bonus of helping you find some more great article ideas by making you realize you already have photos to send with your next pitch.
3. Make a motivator
This is different for everyone. It is something that motivates you personally. A picture of your dream destination. A list of what your dream life would look like. Living abroad in an exotic country you’ve dreamed of since childhood. Whatever it is, keep it where you write, where you can see it.
Even now, sometimes the “what if’s” still hit me and when they do I close down all the windows on my laptop and look at the screen. That is where my motivator is. It is the first thing I see when I log on to write.
What is it? Mine is a photo of the first cheque I ever received, for the first article I ever wrote.
“If I did it once, I can do it again,” is the mantra that I say with it. It keeps me going to try again.
4. Take a break
This is a big one. Don’t keep sitting at your keyboard refreshing your email every few minutes to see if you have a response. Get up. Walk away. Take the dog for a walk to clear your head. If you don’t have a dog, take your neighbor. Or, meet a friend for coffee. Just getting out of that “what if” self-doubting headspace can reset your confidence to try again.
5. Be kind to yourself
Remember, no one on earth has had one hundred percent of pitches accepted.
Every single one of us has had a case of the not-hearing-backs and the editor-must-have-hated-it doubts. But you know what the good news is? There are thousands of other editors with thousands of other magazines that all need content.
Don’t get down on yourself. Remember, editors are people too. People that get too busy, forget things or get bogged down in the day to day. Move onto the next publication and mark your spreadsheet to follow up in two weeks.
One last tip. Celebrate everything. The first time you hear back be happy. Your first pitch being accepted. Your first byline. Your first accepted photos. Buy champagne. Have a celebratory lunch with friends.
One by one you will succeed if you don’t give up.