Getting Started with Travel Writing: From Kitchen to Beach
One of the hardest things for people wanting to break into travel writing is knowing how to get started. It was the same for me.
But I think Woody Allen said it best when he claimed, “80% of success is just showing up.”
Once I set my mind to “just doing it” and started writing and submitting my stories to editors, I was amazed at how many “yes’” I received.
Sure I’ve had my fair share of rejections. But it only took one yes to pay for my trip to Mexico where I stayed at the very best 5-star resort, enjoyed a spa treatment, was hosted at upscale restaurants and beachfront bistros where I was treated to delectable tapas (and not-so-inspiring crickets!), and cruised to a nearby island to snorkel with wild sealions. They even set up interviews with two energetic expats for me. I was able to publish six articles from that one trip! And you know what else? I became friends with those two expat women and am still in contact with them.
And only a second yes to pay for my trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I learned about tequila and mescal on a tequila tour (much better than the foodie tour!), went white river rafting, ate gourmet meals from open-air rooftop restaurants with views of the sun setting over the nearby mountains, visited the acclaimed Museum of International Folk Art, shopped at the Spanish Market Festival in downtown, and of course, continued my search for the world’s best margarita.
The trick for me was finding the right publication to publish my story FIRST. Going into this I immediately imagined writing for Conde Nast and National Geographic. But the instructors at The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop encouraged me instead to start smaller. And that’s where I’ve had the most success.
I’ve written for mommy magazines, women’s resource magazines, lifestyle magazines and regional magazines… even websites that don’t have a real print magazine.
(You can read about two publications to sell your articles to where you already have a foot in the door as a reader of this newsletter here.)
One of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to work with editors to learn the ropes. There are certain things that drive them crazy, and if you can avoid them, you’re on your way to establishing a great working relationship with them.
Here are some simple tips you can put into practice right away based on my experience and the tips I picked up from the editors I met at the workshop:
- Leave your ego at the door when sending queries to editors. It’s not about you. It’s about the story so don’t take it personally when you get a rejection. If they give you feedback, learn from it. If they don’t, try again with another publication or look back at your article and make sure you followed their guidelines for submitting it.
- Be polite – editors are busy and it sometimes takes a while to get back to you. This can be frustrating when you’re just starting out because you’re excited. But try and tame that excitement and start on your next article. You’ll drive yourself nuts waiting with baited breath for their reply to show up in your inbox.
- Follow editors’ instructions when they ask for additional info or edits. I feel like I’ve gotten quite a few repeat assignments simply because I make myself easy to work with. As with almost anything in life, it’s a lot easier to catch flies with honey.
I can’t say enough good things about Great Escape Publishing’s workshops because of the changes they’ve made in my life. But since you’ve already missed their last event, I’ll point you toward their Workshop-At-Home Package.
It was the secrets and techniques I got at this event that really propelled me further so when Lori asked that I work through this year’s Workshop-at-Home package with anyone interested in taking it, I jumped at the chance.
If I can do for you what Jen Stevens, Steenie Harvey and Kyle Wagner did for me, then that’s one heck of a way I can pay it forward. And remember – 80% of success is just showing up.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]