As an information technology project manager, I am a “road warrior.” Most weeks Monday through Friday, I travel to client sites. My travel to 42 states and 41 countries has been an adventure. I knew several years ago that I don’t want to give up this lifestyle when I retire. I needed to figure out how to keep traveling on a retirement income.
During a six-month assignment in Argentina, I found Great Escape Publishing while researching weekend trips around Argentina. The life of a travel writer seemed like the perfect way to keep on the road, on my own terms, in retirement. And GEP gave me the knowledge and tools to get started.
To find the right publication, the right story idea, and the right destination to all fit together into a published article is a puzzle. I began piecing the puzzle together.
Through my research on publications, I came across GoNomad.com. I liked this publication for several reasons. First, it was an online publication. Seeing the published story would have a quicker turnaround than a print magazine. Second, there was an extensive archive of sample stories available online, so I could gain a firm understanding of their voice and style. Finally, the writer’s guidelines were clear and specific. There wasn’t any guesswork about what they wanted.
Another plus was the editor mentioned to send the piece along if you already had it written. I wanted to be confident that I could deliver a solid article, and the fact that they accepted stories “on spec” was a plus for me. I didn’t want to have the pressure of a deadline at that point. Since I didn’t have any bylines, I was missing a critical component of the pitch. It made sense to send the completed story and let the editor decide if he liked it.
The story was not about some exotic, overseas adventure. It was about Frankenmuth, Michigan, which is a small town with German roots about an hour and a half from my home. It’s easy driving distance.
Admittedly, my first story took a while to craft. I must have made four separate trips to Frankenmuth. In retrospect, it would have been less time-consuming had I narrowed my focus even more.
I reviewed the submission guidelines and many articles on GoNomad.com.
GEP advises to know your audience, write short articles with a narrow focus and a strong lead, and use simple, direct language. Those five things would result in a published article. And do you know what? I completed those steps, and the editor accepted my story.
I wrote my draft and checked the results against the submission guidelines. Always print both the submission guidelines and the article and use them as a checklist to be sure you’ve met all of the requirements.
I think the hardest thing is getting the courage to hit that “send” button and wait. To get a story published, it needs to get into the editor’s hands. How many complete stories are sitting on your computer?
When GoNomad.com published my story, I went around for days telling my family how excited I was.
Today, I have over 50 published articles, while my most substantial pay for a single piece is over $1,000. I’m starting to receive other travel perks too.
Considering I have a demanding full-time job as a senior project manager, my progress is better than I could have expected. As I get a few articles lined up, I have to hold back the snowball effect a bit, so I am not over committed. At this point, it’s a great problem to have.