getting started in travel writing - WarnerLast Tuesday I told my son Warner—who’s 5—that he’s special. 

I didn’t exactly say “special.”  I think I said something more like: “Son, you’re something else.”

And I didn’t really “tell” him that in a nice way.  It was more like a stern talking to.

I was tucking him into bed when I noticed a long, green permanent marker line on the wall beside his pillow.  

It’s a house rule that permanent markers don’t leave the craft area—and are for adults only—so I got a little mad.

“But you weren’t supposed to see that, Mom.”  He said.

“Yeah, I know,” I replied (as if I’m EVER meant to see something he knows he’ll get in trouble for).

“No, I mean I was trying to hide it so that it could be special.”

“What?  A green line across the wall isn’t special.  And it’s not hidden either if you draw it where everyone can see it.”

“I know,” he said sadly.  “But that’s not what I mean.  I’m talking about my real art.  This line is just a mistake.”

“What?  There’s more?”

 “Yeah.  But promise you won’t get mad?”

“Warner, just show me what you did.”

“I created a very special art that’s just for me.” He points to the top of the ceiling fan, which is visible from his top-bunk bed but not the floor.  I look and it’s covered in green permanent marker scribble with his name almost legible down the side. 

Getting started in travel writing or photography has to start somewhere... even as a scribble

“No one can see it, Mom.  It’s just my secret, beautiful place.  I was making it look pretty but when I tried to climb down the marker drew on the wall, too, and I can’t get it off.”  

“Son, you’re something else,” I said (half upset and half impressed).  Part of me wonders if he’d have been born in a different generation would I have crushed his artistic dreams that night and encouraged him to become a doctor.  

Today, for sure, I’d encourage him—the way I encourage you—to put his work out there.  Maybe not on the ceiling fan. But I’ll definitely buy him some tools and see if his interest amounts to anything in the next few years… the same way I’d encourage you to invest your time in the first steps of travel writing and photography… see if your interest grows legs.

If you’re anything like me, that first step is the hardest.  I hem and haw about it only to find that things snowball quickly and painlessly once I give in.

Getting started in travel writing and photography is no different.

Here’s to making the world a more beautiful, special place… one scribble—or photo—at a time

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