Welcome to a new feature here at Dream of Travel Writing–the Monday Mailbag! We often get questions from readers, folks in our accountability group, or coaching program members that we think would apply to a lot of you.

Now, with permission, agony-aunt-style, we’ll be sharing a new one with you each Monday. If you have a question you’d like to see included, please send it to us at questions [at] dreamoftravelwriting.com and make sure to include a line saying we have permission to reprint your question.

On to the tricky travel writing questions!

The Background

This particular “question” didn’t come in quite phrased as a question, but rather as something that this writer felt was a huge hurdle in her travel writing.

She said, comically, but very on-point:

“Staring at a blank screen for hours isn’t really a good
business model for making money, so I’m working on that.”

So I dug a little further, asking what she found herself doing when starting at the blank screen, or, more accurately, what was she attempting to do.

Here’s her response:

“I seem to have trouble just getting started. I get nervous (like I’m going to get it all wrong or like there’s a test and I haven’t studied so I’m sure to fail).

Perhaps it’s a confidence thing. I hold writers in high regard and while I’m most certainly a writer, maybe there’s a little bit ‘feeling like a fraud,’ in switching over from PR to freelance travel writing.

Aside from that, I overthink opening sentences (even with trade articles!). I think I’m pretty good with structure but somewhere along the line I raise the stakes of this type of writing (maybe it’s the by-line?) and basically spend two days freaked out and working in my pajamas.”

This is something that could have come out of the mouths of many of you!

My Advice

“In that case, here’s my prescription: When you find yourself not writing, switch to another tab/window/app/whatever and read instead.

Read features, shorts, news briefs, whathaveyou (only from reputable places though, no blogs for this reading) and soak up the language, structure and meta structure so it infects you and becomes second nature.

After a bit of reading, you’ll probably have an idea for the piece you were stuck on and rush back over to put it on the page!”



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