All Posts in Category: Freelance Psychology
When I was first asked to coach other travel writers on how to meet their business goals and finally get their dreams off the ground, I spent a long time thinking about it, observing writers I knew, and taking stock of the marketplace.
The 18 months of research that led to The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map actually centered very specifically on one question:
What is the difference between the writers who have normal careers as if they were in any other field, earning a great amount of money, buying houses, etc., and those that never seem to be able to crack making this into a viable, stable, long-term career?
The Real Reason Why We Travel Even When It’s Hard–And How to Bring That into the Rest of Your Freelance Work
There is an important part of doing something new that we always seem to forget in the excitement of novelty.
Whenever that little ding of a notification or flash of a new email appears on our screens, we get a hit of the chemical dopamine, the same chemical associated with eating your favorite food, having sex, and getting high on cocaine.
And when the extent of the new thing in your life is equally as momentary–scanning the latest shutdown headline, trying a new flavor of ice cream, or checking an editor’s tweet calling for pitches–the let down if it doesn’t turn out as planned is short-lived and typically doesn’t cause you to ask bigger questions about why you are doing what you’re doing and if it’s really a good idea and whether you should just chuck it all and stop right now.
But when the new thing is bigger, like, say, trying to become a freelance travel writer, and what you’ve invested in that new thing is on a scale of months or years, when you hit a snag, the reaction can be very different.
When I speak with my coaching clients, I’m always struck by how much more impact we achieve when we focus on things that seem small or narrow or insignificant as “issues” in terms of “becoming a travel writer.”
I’ll never forget one unexpected conversation I had with someone who has what others would no doubt consider a very cool and interesting life. She lives in Europe (she’s not from there). In the mountains, where there are opportunities for her to indulge in day-long climbing adventures with partner (that’s what brought them together). And her partner typically works in a different country, where he guides tours, so she gets built-in regular travel to popular travel destinations automatically.
This might sound way more interesting than whatever the circumstances of your life are right now, but she actually had an issue gunking up her enjoyment of this situation in a big way.
Over the holidays, I seriously failed at vacation.
Not in the way that many of us feel that we do, when we discover something with an amazing story and our unsuspecting friends and relatives get stuck listening to a half-hour lecture on the lives of potters in ancient Greece from a local we’ve decided is an excellent source.
Nor in the way that many of us also struggle with—cutting the laptop/phone umbilical cord.
Well, to be fair, I certainly am guilty of that on this trip as well, but since I’ve been doing that since long before I met my husband, back Thanksgiving meant my friends and roommates would endure six weeks before the actual event of fiendishly testing, photographing and blogging recipes every moment I wasn’t at my day job.
This year, I failed at vacation in a way that feels worse precisely because it isn’t as “simple” as deciding whether to or to not be on one’s laptop.
Today’s holiday trivia: Continuing our look at holiday traditions around the world, we travel east for a very different type of holiday. As a secular, communist country, North Korea has a different take on holidays than many societies. Its 71 official holidays include Sundays, for instance, and many holidays are based on birthdays of the party leaders and founders. Today North Korea celebrates its Constitution Day, for which the state provides rations explicitly for the holiday feasts.
When we surveyed you guys to see what you’d most like to see in our holiday specials, one of the things that came up again and again was opportunities for one-on-one coaching!
Since I’ve finished my coaching certification this year–which was a very eye-opening experience that I wish more people who offer business “coaching” would do–I’m even more excited than ever to work with you one-on-one to move your career forward.
Join Us This Week for Free Travel Writing Lessons on Creating Salable Photography and Writing for Travel Trade Magazines
In the two years since we began running regular one-hour travel writing classes, we’ve covered more than 80 topics, including:
- how to land free trips
- how to get paid really, really well for your writing
- how to get on magazine editors’ good sides
- how to navigate every step of the process to land travel content marketing work, including phone calls and proposals
- how to keep your hourly rate down so your bank account goes up
- how to get work done on the road
- how to write, step-by-step, 15 different types of travel articles
- how to land guidebook and other traditional publishing deals
You can grab access to all of our past webinars (and a ton of other resources you can’t find anywhere else) with a subscription to our Dream Buffet or grab them one-by-one when you need them in our On-Demand Webinar Library for a set with the video, audio, transcript, and slides.
But we also air a free replay of one of our travel writing classes each and every weekday.
When I talk for the first time to a travel writer in the process of building their career—whether they’re just starting or they’ve been at it for decades but have never felt that ‘click’ of sustainability where they know they can do this and make the money they want for as long as they want—an eerily similar thing typically happens.
It takes a lot of guises though.
These writers are typically asking me a very specific, tactical question about how to do one specific thing: write pitches more quickly, make sure their ideas fit a magazine, find the right place to pitch a specific piece, or get started with those lucrative content marketing gigs.
And as I’m explaining the answer, the odd thing happens.
At an event for business executives I attended earlier this year, the facilitator shared something that is a bit of a myth in the business world.
The short version is: in a room full of nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs, when asked how they track and check in daily with their goals, it turned out the that four wealthiest people in the room all carried a paper with their goals in their wallet on somewhere else on their person.
Let me say this again, because it bears repeating. In a room full of people who had successfully started their own businesses, the ones who made the most looked at their goals regularly.
At the airport on the way back this week from an author’s conference, I was magnetically drawn to scan the best seller lists and consider who was there and why.
There were so many of those names you’ve see there over and over for decades, like Nora Ephron or Dan Brown. An entire, multi-shelf section devoted to Ann Patchett. The requisite books about how companies can motivate millennials next to Mark Manson’s bestselling The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.
My eye caught on a cover simulating (well, graphic-designed rather than photographed) a page torn at the top and bottom with a lowercase title etched out in a watercolor-style gradient migrating from aquamarine to forest green like descending through a cross section of the ocean.
How responsible do you feel to your freelance writing goals?
The answer I often here is some variant of “not very,” typically centered around all of the other factors that are in the way.
I ask because the word “accountability” gets through around a lot–on social media, in face-to-face discussions with other writers, and especially on coaching calls.
So I looked it up to dig into what accountability is meant to mean.