One of my very first published pieces was the result of a river trip I had taken on my own, just for fun.
This vacation on a boat was down the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, one of my favorite stretches to float, and consisted of two days of flat water (aka: a booze cruise), one layover day on a beach called Spanish Bottom, and one day of rapids before our final take-out day.
To some, perhaps not a vacation at all, but to me, five days of pure bliss in one of the most scenic places in the country.
Going into the trip, I hadn’t intended to write about it, but when given the opportunity, I found it difficult not to turn it into a story. With so many personalities, memorable experiences, and lifelong bonds I’ll never forget, all wrapped up in one getaway, the words flowed naturally as soon as I sat down at my computer.
At the time, I was working on the ad sales side of an outdoor magazine and had only just begun to tap into the editorial side. It seemed like a natural fit, though, that when my editor learned of my trip, she wanted me to write a piece about it. The adventure was story-worthy, indeed, and if I could actually have the opportunity to write about and share my passions with others, well, that was enough for me.
That was just the start. As time passed and my career progressed, I took full advantage of my being able to turn what I love to do into a paying career.
Here’s some advice: Don’t tell yourself you want to become a writer just for the sake of writing… or just to get the free trips (although those are both worthy reasons). Instead, let your passions lead the way, and the writing will inevitably follow. First, though, you have to tap into what truly makes your world go round, and only once you’ve found that does it make sense to seek out opportunities that afford you the chance to turn it into a career.
If you’re passionate about something, it will show — and rarely does this philosophy ring more truly than in writing. I’ve always been told to write what I know, and in doing so, I’ve managed to navigate my way through the media maze, finding homes for my articles and residencies at publications I’m proud to be a part of.
If you’re passionate about something, make it work for you – write what you love and it won’t feel like work at all.