After over a decade as a teacher and mentor for Great Escape Publishing, I still get super excited when I walk into a workshop or start a fresh round of feedback for our writers.
It’s not just because the folks who find us tend to be more purposeful—although that’s a big part of it. So many of us were raised to follow a certain set of rules, and as we make our way through the decades, we tend to come to the realization that there’s really no rulebook. There’s just what we want out of life and what we are willing to do to make it happen—and the heck with what other people think or say.
Also, there’s something beautiful and appealing about discovering your passions and pursuing them to the fullest that makes for more robust and interesting writing, and that always jazzes me and injects my own work with renewed enthusiasm. The interactions I have come to expect from our workshop attendees and program participants are among the most rewarding of my own career.
Here are three more reasons why I truly enjoy working with the new writers at Great Escape:
1. New writers are more motivated
As with any career, the longer you’ve been at it, the more the shine has worn off, right? Not so with those just starting out. Novice writers are hungry—they’re ready to do the work, and they tend to go at it hard and accept feedback more easily than those who have been getting their work published for a while.
In addition, because so many of the beginning writers who join our programs are launching this as a second—and sometimes even third or fourth!—career, they understand the effort it can take to master something unfamiliar, and they’re more willing to push through the tough times to reach their goals. It can be so inspiring to be a part of the process.
2. New writers don’t have as many bad habits
Any editor who has worked with veteran reporters knows that they are often set in their ways. They’ve been misspelling the same words for decades, and they craft their sentences and set up their story structures in similar ways, over and over. They sometimes seem to almost mindlessly be producing the content, without really thinking through what it means or whether it could be better.
Not so with newbies. Sure, it’s true that a story from someone who hasn’t produced it for public eyes previously can be filled with grammatical errors and need assistance in things like transitions, sentence structure, and other writing conventions, but for the most part, learners want to do just that: learn.
New writers also are more likely to retain feedback, because they are eager to become proficient, and—as I said above—they’re more motivated. It makes for a more satisfying relationship between editor and writer, and it usually results in more dynamic and compelling stories.
3. New writers often come from interesting backgrounds
The fresh perspective from those who arrive at the freelance travel writing realm from such varied life experiences can be so reinvigorating. I really enjoy hearing about a place from someone who has a different—and often unique—worldview, because the outlook on available activities, dining, lodging, and modes of travel can be fascinating and provocative.
The exploration and acceptance of our differences and our similarities is what makes the world go ’round, and it absolutely feeds and enhances the travel experience. I don’t think there’s a better way to help bring us together than to guide and nurture new writers as they make their way toward becoming skilled experts.