TWO YEARS IN THE LIFE OF A TRAVEL WRITER
An interview with freelance journalist Connie Werner Reichert
TRWTT: Connie, with years of experience in journalism and some previous experience in travel writing, what led you to take the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, and what did you learn from it?
CONNIE: As a journalist, I always wanted to become more involved with travel writing. I wanted more than just a mainstream writing career. I wanted an exciting lifestyle that would enable me to learn about new cultures, meet lovely people, dabble a bit in different languages, taste exotic foods, indulge in unique shopping experiences and show my enthusiasm to readers about the many fascinating places to vacation in the world. I also wanted to share all of this with my teenage daughter and wonderful husband.
The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop gave me tremendous insight on what’s happening right now in the real world of travel writing. Shortly after completing the program, I experienced 10 successful press trips within two years that resulted in a plethora of articles and a good income. I remain thankful for all AWAI has done for me and my career.
TRWTT: Ten press trips in two years – that sounds like a lot of traveling. What was it like on the road, and where did you find these great opportunities?
CONNIE: Ten trips was a killer…but it was incredible. I snowmobiled in the Yukon in 30 degrees below zero weather, took a crazy jeep drive in Sedona, enjoyed spa days in Mexico, and slept in a hammock in Hawaii.
I found some press trips through my membership with the International Travel Writers & Photographers Alliance. But after taking a few trips, I seemed to be on every Travel PR firm’s mailing list, and I continue to receive an onslaught of invitations. I also subscribe to sites like MediaKitty.com to keep me abreast of travel writing opportunities.
TRWTT: As a journalist, do you have any advice specific to crafting your story while you travel?
CONNIE: When I write my travel story, I find that it helps to begin with a compelling headline, and then write the ending. For me, the middle comes last. I also include quotes by interviewing other tourists, hotel directors, tour managers — anyone I find interesting that can add info and color to my story.
On a press trip, you gain the most by writing multiple stories. For instance, I recently went to Paris, and now I’m writing, “The Top Five Parisian Boutiques,” “Stress-free Traveling to Paris with Your Kids,” and “Paris: Living like a Local.” Use your vivid imagination and you will be overwhelmed with possibilities.
TRWTT: What kinds of perks do you enjoy when you’re traveling as a writer?
CONNIE: As a travel writer with card-holding credentials, I never have to wait in line to check baggage, and I am often among the first on the plane. People are very kind to me, and I appreciate that immensely.
TRWTT: Through the years, as you’ve developed into an experienced and successful travel writer, do you have any special techniques to share with us for marketing yourself and your stories?
CONNIE: Yes. Never stop learning. Learn about the latest travel writing trends — what editors are looking for now. I like your newsletters. People can start by reading the free e-letters in your archives on TheTravelWritersLife.com, and join groups like the ITWPA to keep up with what’s going on in travel writing right now.
I also read every day for hours and study travel magazines, both online and off, to get a feel for what’s out there.
Another thing you can do is start a blog or a website to market your content. I have two websites and a blog, where I set up samples of my writing and a mini-portfolio.
And have fun along the way! Life is for the living! What better way to enjoy life and see the world for free than becoming a travel writer? I’m certainly glad I did. You can do this, too!
TRWTT: Thanks, Connie!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Connie Werner Reichert is the President of Write Side Up Travel Journalism. Her media expertise spans more than 20 years. The award-winning former Radio/TV Newscaster and Newswriter is featured in several editions of “Who’s Who.” Connie is available for interviews and public speaking. She also welcomes your comments and questions. Contact Connie here.
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.]