Ever heard of a time peg?
I try not to use the word too often, because it masks much more important issues at stake in people’s pitches, but, at its core, it means pegging or affixing the topic if your article to something timely.
There’s lots of options for this “something timely” that ger thrown around when discussing pitches, from openings of new things to renovations of old things to major anniversaries of even older things.
I cannot tell you how many pitches I saw either related to country of Canada’s 150th anniversary of statehood or the American National Park system’s 100th anniversary of its founding.
When I first started helping travel writers finally reach their goals and dramatically grow their income, I saw, straight away, that the single, simple, easy answer to how to get from where each writer was to where they wanted to be was simple: pitch.
So I worked up live and online programs, workshops, and webinars to combat this great “evil,” the fear of pitching.
But, of the course of that work with writers, I found that while they were telling me their pitches were the problem, the responses they were getting from editors were telling them (and me!) that their ideas were really the problem.
That’s why, based on our live IdeaFest retreat, our new four-week program is designed to provide a serious and lasting foundation to turn you into an idea machine, turning up dozens of article ideas every day. And I’ve already seen the transformation happening daily with the writers beta-testing the program this past month, who regularly share exclamations like:
“The tips were really useful! I managed to double my article ideas for the magazines I identified!”
“Done! Love this exercise. Makes it visually accessible to see all the ideas for one place, along with the magazines and the sections to pitch.”
“This was a super useful exercise!”
“This actually helped me discover sections of magazines I might not have looked at otherwise.”
“As I started this exercise I really didn’t like it too much, but did finally break past a little barrier and thought of some good stuff!”
“Woo-hoo! I managed to find ideas around all nine articles types from the one concept. “
“This was fun! Each trip has so many aspects to share!”
“This was a really great exercise for me, and it helped me realize that even small things from an experience can lead to an entire article.”
Is it just now your new year?
On a recent coaching call, someone explained to me that as they were slammed with deadlines both before and after the holiday, had many family commitments during the school break, and subsequently had to take a trip involving many time zones-worth of jet lag for a family health emergency, she only finally felt, at the end of January, that she was finally in a place to really start the new year.
Working on front-of-book pieces has several key benefits we’ve discussed, especially honing your ability to write short and journalistically.
But one of my favorites is that it offers you a venue to use all sorts of excess pieces of research that you collect on your trips with the most minimal investment of additional research.
This week, during our winter Freelance Travel Writing Bootcamp, a very interesting question has come up several times.
It’s a very common situation that travel writers find themselves in.
During the bootcamp, we try as hard as possible to stimulate real-world circumstances in our afternoon tours. The bootcamp focuses through morning lessons and afternoon outings on honing your ability to find stories out in the world wherever you are. And one of the realities of traveling as a travel writer is that not everything you see is interesting to you personally.
In honor of our first anniversary, we’ve launched an exciting new feature: You can now stream all of our past webinars–one each day–for free.
These webinars are only available at the times listed, live, but you can catch the replay in video, audio, and transcript form, along with the webinar slides, at any time in our on-demand webinar library.
Check out the full schedule of February’s webinars and register for your favorites below.
For the large subset of travel writers who come from blogging, specifically writing on their own blogs without someone overseeing the writing or editorial direction, 1,000-word articles don’t inspire trepidation. They write 1,000-word blog posts all the time!
But as you spend more time reading magazine articles, you’ll very quickly find that a 100-word magazine article tends to have as much information as a 1,000-word blog post simply because in print, space is at a premium.
Every block of text could potentially be replaced by an advertisement (and this is often what happens when your story gets killed last minute!).
If one-on-one coaching is not for you where you are right now because:
- you’re still in a full-time job in a different industry and don’t have a solid timeline for making the jump into freelance travel writing;
- you’re still getting your bearings in terms of what you want to do with travel writing (brand storytelling! meaty features! blog posts for destinations! well-paid trend pieces about your latest stop in a year-long nomadic journey after quitting your job! so many choices!);
- you would love to have the one-on-one attention by financially can’t swing that investment right now; or
- you’re working on your travel writing alongside several other interests, such as yoga teaching training, cooking for retreats in exotic locations, WWOOFing, or a developed blog that is a serious time commitment;
but you want a constant source of answers to your travel writing questions, whether an in-depth lesson from our webinars, an instant script or tactic for dealing with a tricky editor or client situation, or a quick answer to the perennial question “where should a pitch this story?”, we bring you the Dream Buffet.
This week, we’ve got a special webinar double header week since I was out with the flu last week, and we’re also doing a very different mini-series.
We’ve looked in the past at a lot of facets of free travel that are specific to travel writers:
- Setting Up Sponsored Travel 101: How free travel really works for travel writers.
- How to Set Up an Individual Trip From Scratch: The ne plus ultra of press trips are the ones you design yourself.
- Getting a Spot on a Group Press Trip or Fam: Cracking the code for getting offers and acceptances for scheduled group press trips.
- Putting Together a Pitch Portfolio to Support a Big Trip: The simple secret to landing a spot on any press trip you’re interested in.
- What to Expect on Press Trips: What you can realistically expect from your press trips–the good and the bad.
- How to Prepare for Your Press Trip: What you get out of a press trip depends largely on what you put in.
- How to Get the Most (on the Ground) Out of Your Press Trips: Getting on a free trip is the easiest part. Leaving with saleable ideas is the real challenge.
But this week we’re talking about a totally different way to travel for free: trips you book yourself…but don’t pay for.
That’s the real dream, right?
Our Last Holiday Special Offer…An Opportunity to Be the First to Access Our Newest Way to View All Our Resources: Webinars, the Travel Magazine Database, and Our Q&A Library for Coaching Students
Today’s holiday trivia: While king’s cake or Gateau des Rois has becoming associated with North and South American Mardi Gras festivities, it was originally consumed on Twelfth Night, the last day of the 12 days of Christmas. Each cake, or pudding in the case of Britain, had a bean or charm baked in. Whoever found it–assuming they didn’t choke on it–was said to be blessed with good luck for the year ahead.
We’ve let you know for months this was coming, and now it’s finally here!
If your circumstances–time-wise, financial, or just not being ready quite yet to pull the trigger and dive headlong into travel writing–make it so that our coaching programs aren’t the best option for you right now, but you follow our webinars and new magazines in the Travel Magazine Database, we’ve got something that might be just what you need for where you are right now.
Today’s holiday trivia: In many Asian traditions, odd numbers are lucky, and Japan is no exception. The 11th marks the festival of Kagami Biraki, which means “opening the mirror,” and implies the end of a period of abstinence. The celebration began with the samurai in the 15th century and continues in the judo martial art tradition today, as well as in private homes, to whack open sake barrels with wooden mallets, drink the sake from specially made square wooden cups, and break upon and share a mochi (traditional japanese rice and red bean sweet).
Ever since we laid our eyes on what is now our 3,400-square-foot writing retreat in the Catskills, we knew it had to be used for one thing: a place for writers, editors, bloggers, and other creatives to come and do deep work, like…
- finishing a first draft of a book
- editing a documentary
- processing a huge batch of photos from a trip you’ve just wrapped up
- banging out an entire month’s worth of blog posts
- finishing some big feature assignments
- recording a series of videos for your audience
- writing the materials for a course you’re planning to launch