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Issue #340: Are You in an Information Gathering Rut?
February 01, 2021
|Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!
. . . and WELCOME all new subscribers. Thanks for joining us.
Editorial: Are You in an Information Gathering Rut?I know plenty of writers with superior writing skills and all the right education, who never quite get to the stage of putting pen to paper and pitching and writing travel stories.
Instead, they keep attending conferences and workshops, buying “how to” books, and gathering information from the Internet on how to play the freelance travel writing game.
It’s easy for us to fall into the “information gathering” rut, versus actually sitting down to generate our story ideas, write query letters, create magazine distribution lists and write travel stories.
The reality is that there’s such an abundance of information on freelance travel writing, that we’ll never catch up with it and learn it all. I call this continuous information gathering “overthinking.” Overthinking is a procrastination technique. It stems from a whole suite of reasons related to entering a new, unfamiliar field like travel writing. Like fear of failure, rejection, and lack of confidence. Not to mention the fact that travel writing is actually hard work and requires a certain amount of daily grind. Sometimes a lot of grind!
Information gathering is important, but there comes a point where we’ve just got to sit down and start working through the freelance writing process to get some stories published.
I tell you this because gathering information is only part of what we need to break into travel writing. The other part is a valuable thing called experience.
It’s only through our experiences gained from attempting travel writing that we discover what freelance writing is about. It’s messy and has no consistency. There are no gold standards. Take pay rates for example: I’ve written 5,000-word articles for $300 and 500-word pieces for $500! Where’s the consistency in that?
Understanding editor's preferences comes with experience. Travel editors differ tremendously in their preferences for stories and writing styles. Many editors are great to work with, while a few are not-so-great. You learn who’s who with experience, and work with the great editors.
And, experience means understanding that our work doesn’t need to be perfect to be publishable. I make no claims to be a Hemingway or a Steinbeck, yet I’ve managed to get more than 1,000 articles published in 200+ regional, national, and international magazines, newspapers, trade journals, custom publications, specialty magazines, in-flights, on-boards, and online travel magazines.
You can get published as often as you like, too.
Understanding that you’ll learn as much from the experience of trying freelance writing as you might have learned from your MFAs or journalism degrees, and the “how to” books, workshops and conferences.
We gain the most important experience by confronting the demons of rejection and failure head on, and learning from them.
Rejection and failure are integral parts of the travel writing learning process. We learn as much from our mistakes as we do from our successes — and maybe more!
We’ve all heard of the School of Hard Knocks. Those hard knocks are derived from experience. There are few better ways to learn than by attending the school of hard knocks. Heck, it’s a full blown university!
I’ve learned a lot from my combined years of higher education. But from the hard knocks of experience, I’ve evolved dozens of solid, actionable, practical techniques that have helped me sell hundreds of articles to paying print media. Experience has taught me how to score some marvelous press trips and Fam Tours around the globe.
If you’ve been overthinking or information gathering, maybe it’s time to move on to the next step. Start pitching your story ideas or you’re never going to learn those other valuable freelance writing lessons.
This Week's Featured Post
Why You Should Pitch Print Publications FirstThere’s great temptation for beginning travel writers to boost their bylines by planting articles on travel websites. On the surface, this seems very impressive. It’s a great way for a novice to collect a lot of bylines quickly.
But, you’ll earn little or no money writing for travel websites. Although a few travel websites pay, they’re rarely more than token payments. Your goal should always be to move up to paying print media.
Print magazines pay. There are thousands of them. And there’s far more prestige attached to having your work in print media.
If you keep pitching online, that’s exactly where you’ll stay. Your portfolio will ring hollow. And with only online articles, you’ve done all that work for free.
I have a simple and effective system for rookie travel writers to build their bylines simultaneously online and in print, right from the start. I have my writers pitch their stories to print publications first. Then, if there’s no interest from magazine editors, they submit their travel articles to travel websites, for free if necessary.
Here are the three most important reasons why you should pitch your stories to print publications first . . .
Upcoming PostsFeb 8: 9 Ways To Sabotage Your Query Letters (and How To Avoid Them)
Feb 15: When Travel Writing Stars Align: Articles and Publications Destined for Each Other
Feb 22: A Query Letter That Landed the Press Trip of a Lifetime
PitchTravelWrite.com Success Stories
Jessica Pickett: A Travel Writing Success StoryThis post will surely inspire you to try your hand at freelance travel writing. It tells Jessica Pickett’s story — in her own words — of how she launched her impressive travel writing career.
Hailing from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jessica’s steady ascent through the travel writing ranks is a textbook example of what novice travel writers should be doing to break into this competitive arena. Novice travel writers can learn from Jessica’s trajectory into travel writing.
Here’s Jessica’s story . . . “While attending a Travel Writer’s Conference in San Diego in 2014, Roy and his wife Linda sat at my table and, to my good fortune, easily struck up conversation. After chatting with Roy, I immediately purchased his eBooks, even before hearing him speak on stage.
A few short weeks after the conference, I landed my first byline. Bolstered by the knowledge gained from Roy’s books and his PitchTravelWrite.com posts, I pitched a well-known regional magazine and blog. This regional blog and magazine is where I “started” my travel writing. After answering a “Call for Writers” post (which had been shared over 4,000 times by the time I saw it) I was invited to become a regular monthly contributor.
Upon submitting my first article they offered me a permanent contributor’s role. There, I published dozens of articles, both digital and print, in over a year of writing for them.”
Read the rest of Jessica’s steady rise into the ranks of professional freelance writing here.
Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Improving Your Travel WritingAs travel writers, we put words together to paint pictures of our destinations. Writing about a place we love seems like such an easy thing to do. From the readers perspective, we live a charmed life.
But, as you know, there’s much more to the travel writing craft: things behind the scenes that your reader doesn’t know about like . . .
There’s also a lot to learn about controlling your time and freeing yourself up from mundane tasks so that you can spend more time on the things you love to do – writing about travel.
This resource page includes information about topics that focus on your travel writing craft. How you can improve your writing and increase your productivity – and get those articles out to editors.
Inspirational Travel Quote
RESOURCES FOR TRAVEL WRITERS
Featured Book: 125 Websites that Want to Publish Your Travel Stories
Our BRAND NEW eBook, 125 Websites that Want to Publish Your Travel Stories, is a red-hot list of quality websites that are eager to publish your travel articles.
And, you can make some money while you’re boosting your bylines. Our new book includes more than 50 travel websites that actually PAY their writers!
This reference book for travel writers is one of the most valuable resources you can have in your toolbox. You won’t find a list like this anywhere else.
The list of 125 websites — and the advice in this eBook — is your short cut to success. It will accelerate your travel writing career by rapidly enhancing your online presence.
You can save $5 if you use discount code FE2021 at checkout.
Group Coaching Mastermind CommunityOur first Group Coaching Mastermind Community kicked off in October, 2020, and we’ve got a global group with members living in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Vietnam and the U.S. We're very excited about this group of writers and our new community! We added new members to our community in early January and they're getting to know the group and participate in writing activities.
If you missed out on the opportunity to join this session, you can get on the waiting list for the next session.
Live WorkshopsPeople have been asking when our 2021 workshops in New Orleans, Louisiana are scheduled.
Here are the 2021 dates:
We've had lots of interest already. You can sign up for our no-obligation interest list for these workshops and receive our substantial early bird discounts when we open registration:
GET ON THE 2021 LIVE WORKSHOP NO-OBLIGATION INTEREST LIST HERE
Did You Know . . .Our Complete Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers is ranked #1 on TravelWritersExchange.com’s Top Ten Travel Writing Workshops.
You can access the list of the top ten travel writing workshops at the link below . . .
At Your Service
If you know someone who will enjoy this newsletter,
PitchTravelWrite.com, is our information-packed website for travel writers. This e-zine, a series of travel writing books and reference guides, coaching programs, and our workshops all work together to give you guidance in this field.
Our aim is to provide you with practical, nitty gritty information to help you gain entry into the travel writing realm and all the enjoyment that comes with it.
You can see the entire list by visiting their website - click on the graphic to view the list now.
Friend me on FacebookMy Facebook page is about freelance travel writing. I frequently post about:
• links to other well produced travel websites and blogs
• links to my travel articles
• magazine cover stories and back stories
• links to resource pages
• links to coaching and mentoring resources
. . .and plenty of other useful information to get you up to speed
Link to Roy's Personal Facebook page
That's all for now. Until next week - just keep pitching! Roy
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