Below is Chava’s story. She attended our Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Chicago earlier this month and has already seen her first travel article published.
With no experience whatsoever, Chava followed every bit of advice she picked up from the workshop and it worked!
Read on to see how she managed to get published for the first time, and get her two most valuable pieces of advice…
PUBLISHED AND PAID FOR THE FIRST TIME
Interview with reader Chava Wiebe
TRWTT: Chava, do you come from a writing background? What do you do for a living?
CHAVA: I sell Aflac Insurance and own/operate a medical transcription business. I have always loved to write but never considered it as an occupation. About three years ago, a friend shared a copy of International Living magazine with me. That planted the seed. I was inspired by travel writer Steenie Harvey’s story and I thought, “Hey, if she can do it with no experience, then so can I.”
TRWTT: Your article was published by Southern Idaho Living. Can you tell me more about the story, itself?
CHAVA: The owner of Kane’s Kove is a personal family friend. We have visited the Kove several times over the last 10 years. It was very easy to write about such a beloved place. I hope I can do the same in the future for locations that aren’t so familiar.
TRWTT: Was this the first article you tried to write and publish, or had you tried before?
CHAVA: This was the first thing I have EVER written. I purchased the online version of the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Santa Monica and just started going through the exercises and tried to do what was asked of me… using the four U’s, appealing to all the senses, giving it a catchy title, etc.
TRWTT: Where did you get the idea to send your article to Southern Idaho Living?
CHAVA: I subscribed to Writer’s Market as directed in the program and also Googled magazines in and around Southeast Idaho, as this is the location of what I was writing about. It was just kind of a common sense thing. Southern Idaho Living Magazine made sense for an article about the Snake River.
TRWTT: Did you get paid?
CHAVA: I graciously accepted a whopping check for $40 (probably the proudest 40 bucks I’ve ever made).
TRWTT: Now that you’ve been published once… are you hooked?
CHAVA: Absolutely! My head is spinning with article ideas.
TRWTT: If you could take your travel writing anywhere in the world, where would you go?
CHAVA: I love Central America but would love the opportunity to write about anything, anywhere, anytime. I’m ready.
TRWTT: Any other advice for those just starting out?
CHAVA: Don’t get wrapped up in the excitement of travel writing but actually go out there and WRITE something! Don’t be scared to hit “send” when sharing an inquiry. It feels pretty daunting, but every time you do it you feel that much more accomplished.
Even if the article is not accepted, you still feel proud of yourself for going through the process and, although I’ve only done it a few times myself, I know it will get easier each time. Practice makes perfect.
And, lastly, be respectful of the editors (as they are crazy busy), but don’t be intimidated by them. I have found that, if they have the time, they are very helpful and will refer you to another publication that may be a better fit for your story.
[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.]