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On-the-ground reports from the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Denver
Since you couldn’t be with us in Colorado for our workshop, I asked David Morgan – a freelance writer and photographer – to fill you in on what we’ve learned. You’ll find his report here below.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
The porter greets you, taking your luggage. “We’ve been expecting you,” he says, smiling broadly.
“Follow me.” He leads you down a sandy path through lush foliage, thenup a slight hill, where the jungle gives way to the sea. Just as promised, your cabana sits atop a promontory overlooking the private beach, where you’ll unwind and write about your adventures for the next week.
“Cocktails are at sunset if you care to join the other guests.Everything is on the house, of course.”
This is the sort of treatment you can expect to get from time to time once you start getting published as a travel writer.
The trick is to produce work – then get it published – as quickly as possible. Only then can you start to reap the awards and prestige of the travel writer’s lifestyle.
And that is exactly what we’ve been learning how to do here in Denver,Colorado at the 2006 Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop. We’re sorry you couldn’t join us this year.
But, don’t worry – although there’s no true substitute for attending one of our travel-writing conferences in person, you can still profit from a great deal of the travel-writing wisdom and how-to knowledge that’s been shared here, and from the comfort of your own home.
I’ll tell you more about the Workshop-In-Your-Home package (and how to get it at significant savings) in a minute.
First, though, I’d like to tell you a couple of things that could boost your travel-writing career immediately.
My name is David Morgan, and I’ve been writing to you over the past few days with free on-the-ground reports from our Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop here in Denver.
Consider me your official courier pigeon, delivering to your inbox a few of the best tips you’ve missed by not being here this time around.
I’m here to debunk the myth that you have to be exceptionally talented, “well-heeled,” or rolling in money in order to enjoy an international lifestyle.
Far from it. You just need to know a few basics. Then put your knowledge into action.
And today our participants jumped into action: They each wrote a short travel article, then broke into small groups to critique each others work.
I sat in on one of the groups, and I have to say, I was impressed at the quality of work they had learned to produce in just a few short days.
I was especially impressed by the participants who had no writing experience, and who had believed before joining us, deep down, that they couldn’t write at all.
They blew the myth that “writing can’t be taught” out of the water.
And other writers who had some experience but were struggling with writer’s block for one reason or another experienced major break throughs so they could start writing again. Writing brilliantly, I should add.
I was impressed by the caliber of writing that my fellow group members were producing. But how did they do it?
We can attribute a great deal of their success to a writing tip I’d like to share with you now, so you, too, can get started writing toward your dream of wandering the world with not much more than a notepad and a bottle of sunscreen.
It’s much safer just to go for it. Then you don’t have to sit around and wonder.
Here’s how I see it: When it comes to writing (and living, too), sometimes the “internal editor” in our head is screaming so loudly at us that we have to do our writing so perfectly that we hardly get started. Or we don’t get started at all.
Sometimes the internal editor tells us we’re incapable of writing. So we just give up.
We let travel writing be just another passing fantasy of something we wished we could do, “if only… ” But like I said, the world is actually a much safer place when we engage in life, not hide from it.
But like I said, the world is actually a much safer place when we engage in life, not hide from it.
So here’s what you do: Latch onto your dream of travel-writing and turn it into reality. And here’s how you do that… You write anyway. Even if it’s scary. No matter what your internal editor says. If you’re stuck before you even get started, just say to yourself, I’m going to write for thirty minutes, starting NOW.
You then start writing, even if it’s something like: “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. Well, I have an idea of what to write but I don’t know how to do it. I’d like to write about a resort I went to last year, where the beach was empty and the food delicious. Maybe I should just describe the food. Let’s see what I remember. The lobster – I remember the lobster…”
And, whatever you do, you don’t stop writing for half an hour, an hour, 15 minutes, whatever length of time you committed to writing. And only at the end do you reread or start editing it into the beginnings of a fledgling travel article.
No one writes a perfect article the first time. So let yourself write very imperfectly. Then you can start shaping and shifting your article into something that others will enjoy reading – and that you can be proud of.
It’s only by starting that you end up doing. Otherwise, travel writing like everything else stays in the “good idea” stage. And nothing happens.
Don’t you think it’s time to take action?
Here’s what I want you to do.
First, keep in mind that active verbs make for much better writing than passive verbs. They bring your article to life.
Go ahead and start travel writing now. And I mean right now. First, think of a place you’ve been that’s interesting. It could even be in your home town.
Once you’ve done that, please continue reading this letter…
Let’s get back to your idea for a travel article. Go ahead and write for 15 or 30 minutes. Just to do it, with no expectations for how “good” it should be.
What you end up with very well could be the beginnings of a travel article – the travel article that marks the beginning of your new full- or part-time career in travel writing.
When you access your Workshop-In-Your-Home package, you’ll find out everything you need to do to turn those first few attempts at writing into a publishable article.
Get one or two by-lines to your name, and you’ll be able to start traveling better… and pay less to do it… and even earn paychecks from the articles you write.
I can’t wait to see your name in print and read your travel articles. You’ll hear from me one more time tomorrow, the last day of the 2006 Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Denver.
Freelance writer and photographer
[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.]