All Posts in Category: Freelance Psychology
I just returned a few days ago from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference and was delighted to see the seats full of writers who are already making freelance travel writing their full-time occupation or are on their way there.
But even more than hearing their stories of taking the leap, quitting their previous professions, and making travel writing work for them, I loved seeing them interact with editors.
It is so easy to have an “us vs. them” mentality about editors as a freelance writer.
There’s a Sherlock Holmes line that gets repeated in nearly every adaptation verbatim. It’s a note from Sherlock to Watson:
Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.
They always find comical ways to make the letter are at the most inconvenient times. And Watson does always come right away, out of loyalty and curiosity (though often tempered with a fair amount of annoyance ;)).
This spring, I attended, back-to-back-to-back in a period of about five weeks, a number of writing conferences either as a speaker, a sponsor, or a normal attendee.
With that kind of pace, it can be hard to reflect, to pull out the big picture that emerges when the puzzle pieces of many sessions, conversations, and observations are assembled into a view of what is going on with the industry.
One thing has been exceeding clear to me throughout this whole calendar year, even before getting out there and doing all of this mingling.
The redux version: in terms of opportunities, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a travel writer.
But there was something deeper that I noticed, a thread underpinning so many conversations I’ve seen and conference sessions I’ve attended.
It is so easy to be held back by the ceiling you are told exists on the number of types of opportunities for travel writers.
When I first started coaching, running events, corralling writers for a website, and interviewing a lot of people for positions in a short period of time, I felt like a high school teacher.
I was receiving excuses right and left, insignificant and grave, for all sorts of things.
Event space managers delay getting me contracts because they’re sick (and apparently have no one else in the office of the major hotel they work at?), sponsorship chairs for conferences aren’t available to get me a sponsorship contract for months, and writers get me overdue in two weeks rather than two days because… well, I don’t think they actually even bother to explain themselves (and correspondingly aren’t due to be receiving any new assignments).
Summer is such a tricky time for travel writers.
If you have a family or friends that you travel with, it’s a time with much travel, but a frequent struggle between balancing the leisure side of travel (not just for you, but those you’re with!) with the demands of traveling as a travel writer, and all of the note-taking, picture-posing, and interview-grabbing that entails.
If you primarily get your work travel done in the off-season, summer can be a great time to relax and take a staycation to reset…but only if you have enough paid work on your plate.
If you’re still considering whether or not our coaching program is right for you, I wanted to take a few minutes today to really spell out, in detail, what our program looks like once you get started.
As we’ve been exploring in our emails on why we offer coaching, how coaching is different than consulting, what freelance and small business coaching costs throughout the marketing, and our coaching philosophy, everyone really has very different specific needs.
But that makes it really hard to know what you’re signing up for!
So, to help you visualize what we can do together, let’s start at the beginning.
I often get emails from people who are looking for coaching on their travel writing or just want to hop on the phone for an hour and talk about what they should do next. Or perhaps they have a pitch or a piece of writing that they want me to look at and tell them what I think.
One-on-one coaching is how everything we do at Dream of Travel Writing got started. I was attending events as a freelance writer, chatting with other writers, and thought the rates that I was getting paid like $250 a blog post (in 2013) or 50 cents or a dollar a word were what everyone was getting.
I was working part-time, spending half my day exploring new cities, and had a healthy, self-sufficient income I was proud of.
With our early bird registration, we offer a chance to get a huge discount (more than 25% off!) for being one of the first to snag a spot in one of our live retreats at our private retreat location in the Catskills.
We’re especially excited to open up this batch of retreats, because they’re one of the sweetest times to be in the Catskills—literally!
Summer retreats get to take the best advantage of our on-site farm, with salads festooned with edible flowers, more than a dozen different types of heirloom tomatoes, and special produce we grow from all around the world.
Even If You’re a Pitch Wizz and an Idea Magnet, You’ll Still Struggle to Get Pitches Out if You’re Missing This
People who aren’t happy with the types or quantity of the paid travel articles they’re writing tend to come in two flavors:
- they’re established writers, even established magazine writers, that always work with the same editors and have lost the confidence to pitch new-to-them markets
- they pitch so infrequently (and spend the rest of their writing time writing assigned work for content shops OR for themselves on their own blog or a novel project) that sending five pitches in one month is a serious event
On a very basic level, you could say that a regular, concerted pitching effort could bring about serious changes for people in these situations.
And pitching is actually very easy. It just involves writing 150 to 250 words. That only takes ten minutes! So these folks are all set, right?
We’ve done a huge upload of our webinar library, and you can now grab packages with audio, video, slide, and transcript versions of:
- The Difference Between the Photos You’re Shooting Now and What Magazines are Publishing – The photos you’re shooting for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and your blog won’t cut it for magazines.
- Creating a Shot List to Organize Your Trips Around Saleable Photography – This one technique will keep you from coming home without the photos you need to land photo contracts with your pieces.
- Plating, Staging, and Food Photography: Bringing Still Lifes to Life – You could pay $1,200 for a weekend food photography workshop, but here’s what you need to know to get started.
- The Art of the Follow Up — The Simple Key to Dramatically More Assignments – Your guide to what might be the most valuable hour of your entire week.
- What Types of Articles Should You Be Writing? – Once you see each article idea in 10 different formats, you’ll never hurt for pitch ideas.
- Mastering Style at a Sentence by Sentence Level – Your pitches will be the only clip you need when the quality of your writing shines through.
- Story Structure to Take Your Feature Travel Articles to the Next Level – Narrative writing can be terrifying. Once you learn the underlying structure though, it’s smooth-sailing.
- Annual Review Part 1: What is Standing Between You and Your Travel Writing Goals – The most likely roadblocks between you and your travel writing goals–and how to tackle them.
- Annual Review Part 2: How to Clearly Catalog the Work and Opportunities You Have Now – To know where your travel writing business needs to go, you need to be honest about where it is now…in numbers.
- Annual Review Part 3: Taking Stock of the Past Year to SWOT Yourself Into Shape – Align your freelance business with the marketplace and the best place in it for you.
- Annual Review Part 4: Getting Crystal Clear on What You’ll Accomplish in the Next Year – Rather than goals–an all-or-nothing approach to what you’ll do next year–focus your year with this method.
- Annual Review Part 5: Mapping Out Your Step-by-Step Plan for 2018 Success – Follow along with your year-long work plan as we workshop three attendees’ live.
- Article Nuts and Bolts: Putting Together a News Brief – Learn the core of how all front-of-book magazine pieces are constructed.
- Article Nuts and Bolts: Putting Together a Front-of-Book Round-Up – Hone in on the easy-to-write (and pitch!) staple: the front-of-book round-up.
- Article Nuts and Bolts: Putting Together a Trend Piece – An in-depth look at the staple of magazines front-of-book and feature sections everywhere: the trend piece.
- Article Nuts and Bolts: Putting Together a Business Profile – An in-depth look the type of article that should be the bread and butter of your freelance travel writing toolkit.