All this week, I’m discussing writing vacations and writing-related things you can do on family vacations.
Today: A Working Vacation.
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Many writers dream about traveling and writing.
To see the world and write about it on somebody else’s dime would be as good as it gets.
A new travel writer doesn’t stand a chance of being given a fully-paid assignment, though; still, that doesn’t mean you have to give up the dream.
Your next family vacation just might be the foot in the door you need.
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I sold my first travel article 8 years ago. Pitching the article was easier than I expected.
After selling the article, it dawned on me: “Any vacation I take can be an opportunity for more travel articles.”
If you’re going someplace interesting with family or friends for vacation, consider doing a little research before you go and be open to doing a little work at your destination. (Work meaning taking photographs you’ll probably already be taking, and talking to locals a little more than you might have if you were just blowing through.)
Sure, you’re not going to land your first article in Conde Nasté Traveler, but selling an article to a newspaper or regional magazine isn’t very hard.
Don’t let the article get in the way of your vacation–let what you’ve already planned complement your article or articles.
Writing about how to break into travel writing is an entry or series of its own. For a good crash course, pick up a book.
While hanging out in Taos years ago, a friend and I wandered into a bookstore. We were on a spur-of-the-moment road trip, one of those sitting-around-in-Texas one day, “Wanna-go-to-Taos?”-“Sure, sounds cool!” the next day.
I stumbled upon Louise Purwin Zobel’s, The Travel Writer’s Handbook: How to Write – and Sell – Your Own Travel Experiences (Travel Writer’s Handbook: How to Write-And Sell-Your Own Travel Experiences) (affiliate links) and bought it. I learned a lot from the book.
You also can’t go wrong with L. Peat O’Neil’s, Travel Writing: See the World. Sell the Story. (affiliate link) or The Lonely Planet’s Travel Writing (How to) (affiliate link) written by Donald W. George.
I won’t go as far as saying there’s a formula for selling travel writing, but if you research your market, see how they put articles together, and imagine your article in that format, selling your first travel article isn’t as hard as you might think.
You probably won’t pay for your vacation with the article or articles you sell, but it’s always great being able to recoup some of the travel costs to roll into your next trip.
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Travel writing relies on a sense of putting a reader right there in the place.
If you’re interested in travel writing, a week-long vacation is the perfect way to test your mettle. Whether you stay close to home or travel overseas, a little research and planning can land a handful of assignments that can help supplement, or even pay for, your trip.
Travel editors at regional publications and newspapers are often willing to consider a story written by a nonseasoned pro. With tight budgets, they rely on freelancers to write about places they can’t afford to send their staff. Research your angle, pitch your idea, and be open to suggestions.
Oh yeah, and have fun!
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Tom0rrow: Creating Your Own Retreat