Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Commonsense Tips for Newbie Travel Writers (like me)

The day I decided to become a travel writer, I immediately sought out ways on how to accomplish this goal. Since I'm new to this field (I came from a technical field in science), I knew I had to be strategic about it. I allowed my logic and intuition to guide me.

Someone once said "Before we set out to do things which we have not attempted before, we should do things that we have not done before". In my case, this is gaining leverage by gaining all the knowledge and experience I can get in this field.

Here's how I plan to become a travel writer:

Reads how-to books on travel writing

My boyfriend gave me a travel writing book (Travel Writing (Teach Yourself Educational)) when he learned that I was into travel writing. This is his way of supporting me in my career change. Although it did not give me all that I needed to be a travel writer (because I still have to experience being one), it gave me the essential knowledge on the ins and outs of travel writing.

With my own money, I plan to buy Lonely Planet's Travel Writing (How to) (I know I won't go wrong with this one). I think reading books written by successful travel writers (Bill Bryson, Rolf Potts, Tim Leffel) can inspire me and help me find my own writing voice.

Enroll in a travel writing workshop or take up a distance learning e-course on travel writing.

I think everyone can be benefited by a formal (or semi-formal) education especially if you really have no idea how to start. I joined my first e-learning course one month after I decided to be serious about travel writing. The course gave me another perspective on how to become a travel writer. It boosted my confidence knowing that I have gained "expert" knowledge in the field.

Join travel writing contests

Joining contests can pump up your drive to produce great ideas and stories. It puts you in a competitive mood and this sometimes bring out the best in your writing. If you don't win, it will still be a good learning experience. Know which entries won and learn from them. As of now, I am still finding contests where I can submit my work.

Set-up a blog or join a traveler's network

I also realized I need to have a venue to showcase my initial work as a travel writer and the best way to do that is on the world wide web. You can get a free blog on a travel network (Matador, Bootsnall, etc.) or you can get a free blogger blog like this one. Being a member of a network is like having a support group that will help you in your journey of becoming a travel writer. This makes the journey more fun!

You can even earn from your blog if you know how to do it. Matt from nomadicmatt.com earns $3,000 per month from his travel blog. From this money, he has now the means to continue going around the world and blog about it. How cool is that?

Do you want to know how Matt makes money from his blog? Let him tell you about it, click here to go to his blog.

So far, these are my initial ideas on how to become a travel writer. Can you share your ideas?

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