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Curious, intrigued, and uncertain, I fidgeted in my second-row seat at the 2016 Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in New Orleans. I asked myself if this would this be the day that I fully embrace a writing career. I’m a self-confessed dabbler, and quite frankly, dabbling has not fulfilled my dream of living the writer’s life.  

I’ve dabbled at writing, attending seminars and online courses, but always lacked the confidence to submit my articles to editors.  My fear of rejection was enormous, and so I named it Goliath. 

Two years ago, my life was shifting in new directions. Ten days in Alaska (flightseeing, train riding, cruising, hiking, and exploring) provided the inspiration I needed to resume journaling. 

The stunning Alaska scenery had to be stored in words because grainy, dark, and ill-composed photos were woefully inadequate to capture the memories of my spectacular trip. About that time, I discovered The Right Way to Travel newsletter and The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program (online course).   

The following spring, my husband and I booked a sunrise photo excursion at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., and another puzzle piece fell into place.  Suddenly, photographs became more than snapshots.  My camera became a tool in the travel-writing journey. I studied The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program (once again) and challenged myself to fully complete every lesson and exercise.  

My first few articles were rejected, but most editor replies included reliable feedback and opportunities to learn more and improve. Finally, an article was accepted and published!  My small moment of confidence started shooting arrows toward that Goliath.   

I realized, if I can do one article, I can do another.   

I submitted an essay about my crocheting hobby to a financial website, and it was also published.  Goliath was watching over my shoulder as I hesitated to pursue the third article. The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in New Orleans was only a four-hour drive from my home, and it delivered the push that I needed.  

The Day 1 sessions started. The first speaker captured my attention and erased my hesitations. I was focused and hanging on every word, surrounded by like-minded travelers. The energy and passion in the room was exhilarating. On the third day, our New Orleans stories were reviewed by a real editor, and while mine still needed some work, I was secure in the confidence that the travel writer’s life could happen for me.  

As a final blow to Goliath, the workshop included a panel discussion. This Success Panel session consisted of people (actual people, just like me) who had attended a previous workshop, worked hard, never gave up, and became published writers.  I met some of these travel writers during the evening social events and felt connected to their journeys.  

At the end of the workshop, I set a specific goal: complete three stories each month for the next year. I had achieved only three stories in the nine months before the workshop, so this goal has required diligence. In the three months since the conference, I’ve submitted 10 articles to five publications. Two articles have been published, one is scheduled for publication, and seven are pending with editors. 

My uncertainty has vanished, replaced with a firm trust that Great Escape has changed my life in directions better than I had imagined. I’m writing steadily and securing bylines.  

Dear Goliath: You are conquered. I am a published travel writer. 

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