dos and dont travel writing

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I’ve been writing now for five years. When I made the commitment to launch into the world of travel writing after attending an Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in 2014, I honestly had no idea where the journey would take me. Almost 500 published articles later, it’s exciting to share and pay forward what I’ve learned along the way.

Success doesn’t come to travel writers by magic. It comes by working at it and dedication to the craft. I’ve put together a list of three “dos” and three “don’t” to get you on the right track to success.

Let’s start with the “don’ts.”

1. Don’t Talk About it. Do it. 

“I’m going to be a travel writer.” If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. And it’s interesting how those who talk about it the most, never seem do it. Why? Simply because they never get out of the starting gate.

Don’t overthink it, or worry about it, or fall prey to doubts and fears. We all have those days when we wonder if we’re good enough or if the editor will like the story. As travel writers, we’re going to get “noes” now and then. But we get a lot more “yeses.” If you never write the story, no one will ever see it.

2. Don’t Compare Your Journey to Others

So many times, I hear writers compare themselves to another colleague by saying something like, “She has so many published stories, I’ll never catch up.” You’re not in a race. Your journey is uniquely yours and yours alone. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. Your energy and effort should be self-focused. The only one you’re competing with is yourself and your own personal expectations.

3. Don’t Work in Solitude

Travel writing can sometimes be a lonely life. For the most part, we’re working from home in an office we don’t share with anyone else. Joining a writer’s group like the Travel Writer’s Café and a professional writer’s association puts you in direct contact, networking with like-minded colleagues. We share, encourage, cheer, and are an excellent sounding board for one another. 

And now for the “dos.”

1. Do Eliminate Distractions

It happens to all of us. It’s so easy to get distracted. But when it happens over and over again and we never get anything accomplished, it’s time to change our patterns of behavior. 

When I have article deadlines, I find that turning off and tuning out works wonders. I turn off social media, don’t look at emails, or take that text or phone call that can wait. Allowing ourselves to focus on the task at hand means we get the job done!

2. Do Write Every Day

I’ve often been asked how often I write, and the answer is every day. That’s not to say I’m actually pounding out an article seven days a week. But, even on vacation, if an idea strikes, I have a notebook and write down the idea before it’s forever lost in the universe. That’s writing.

On days I’m not feeling as creative, I research new publications or destinations, or send out pitches. But what I’ve found is the more often I write, the easier it gets and the faster I get articles published.

3. Do Treat it Like a Career vs. a Hobby

Some enter the travel writing world, thinking it will be a fun hobby. That’s OK if you see it that way. But that’s exactly what will be—a hobby.

Writers who see travel writing as a career reap the rewards and benefits that come along with the job. A writer recently commented, “I want to get invited on trips like you to awesome places. How can I do that?”

I’ll tell you that writers who receive invitations to such trips show tremendous dedication to their craft. They work hard. They get published. They write for high-visibility publications. And they practiced these dos and don’ts to get where they are today.

Basketball superstar Michael Jordan provides us with these words of wisdom: “Don’t just want for them to happen or wish for them to happen, make them happen.”