Ernest Hemingway once said, “Writing at its best is a lonely life.” Sorry, Mr. Hemingway, I have to disagree. While it’s true that we spend hours at the computer alone, we’re not alone in this writing life.
It’s been 11 years since I launched my travel-writing career, and, in those years, I’ve developed relationships with other writers, editors, and tourism boards across the world. Through networking as a travel writer, I’ve not only expanded my circle of friends, I’ve been offered numerous trips and even received assignments from editors without sending a query.
You don’t have to do this alone. Here are some of the ways you can network to enhance your writing life:
There are several organizations for writers to choose from. While some, like the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), have qualification processes for well-published writers, others can benefit you from the start of your career. The first organization I joined was International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance (ITWPA) which gave me the confidence and credibility I needed to secure press trips and start taking advantage of the perks that come with the travel writer’s life.
Once you’ve launched your travel-writing career, you’ll find plenty of writing groups on Facebook that you can join. Members of some groups share editor information and guidelines for publications. Editors often post requests for articles. I’ve secured several assignments this way. Beyond the potential for writing opportunities, many groups share successes and struggles providing encouragement when it’s needed most.
Tourism Marketplace Events
One of the first things I did after launching my travel-writing career was to attend a media marketplace. At these events, tourism boards meet one on one with writers in a speed dating type format. Although the meeting is brief, it provides the introductions necessary to build relationships with the destination marketing representatives. Those relationships bring press trip opportunities. Depending on where you live, there may be tourism luncheons or cocktail parties as well. At one tourism luncheon, I was seated next to the publisher for a magazine. During our conversation I mentioned that I was leaving for a trip to Norway later that week. Coincidentally, he was looking for Norway content in connection with a collaboration with the tourism board. On the spot, I sold four articles and have been writing for him ever since.
Taking press trips with other writers has brought me many new contacts that have developed into friendships. When you’re away from home and family, you bond pretty quickly with your travel mates. Those friendships transfer to your social media channels, too. You never know who’ll be on the trip with you. On a New Orleans holiday trip I met another editor who asked me to start writing for his publication. So remember to be nice!
These are just a few of the ways networking can help you as you develop your travel-writing career. It takes time to build relationships, but putting yourself out there is the first step—even if it’s just joining a Facebook group. Take the first step and start building. Your writer’s life won’t be lonely.