All Posts in Category: The Writing
Our On-Demand Coaching Concierge Now Has Answers to More than 300 of Your Top Travel Writing Questions!
Before there was Dream of Travel Writing or even The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map, there were questions.
I’ll never forget the time I was sitting in a room at the World Travel Market in London after one of the panels had finished up catching up on email, and a British gentleman came up and started chatting with my about what I did.
It was quite a few years ago, long before I ever even considered writing about freelancing, let alone coaching freelance business owners.
We were talking about what I did, and the conversation took a turn that it frequently did back then: a bit of puzzlement when I said that, yes, I was a blogger, but, no, I could not tell him what my blog was. I was a freelance blogger.
So I told him my mantra back then: “If I’m not getting paid, why would I write something?”
A very cool opportunity came my way this past week that I am excited to share with all of you.
If you regularly join us for our new weekly webinar, you may have heard me rave about a conference that I went to earlier this spring/late winter that was bursting with editors that were friendly, easy to connect and chat with, and from very high-profile outlets.
I also mentioned that the conference itself was very expensive for an association conference and so it probably wasn’t the best fit for many of you.
But… (there must be a but, right?)
They have a really attractive promotion going on right now for membership to the association (the International Association of Culinary Professionals), which includes recordings of many of the sessions with editors I found particularly valuable from the annual conference.
I say this a lot. And a lot of you are already very aware of without me having to mention it, but…
The kind of writing that flies on blogs is *very* different than what appears in print magazines.
The perennial question, however, is how?
In many ways, the way people (editors, namely) talk about this different calls to mind the famous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said:
“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [hard-core pornography]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”
Besides “you know it when you see it” , what can I point to that separates the type of writing that appears on the web from what appears in print?
Making Your Story About the Journey Rather than the Destination is a Easy Trick for Successful Pitching
I’ve been in a travel writing conference for the last couple days observing something very curious throughout the keynotes.
Both keynotes—one by Don George, who was formerly travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and Lonely Planet’s annual travel writing short story anthologies, and another by Spud Hilton, the current travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, who has won an obscene number of top travel writing awards in that position—focused on storytelling.
Each keynote was excellent, composed of a heavy dose of first-person experience layered with specific, well-articulated and vitally important tips of how to completely overhaul your stories for the better.
But at the end of both keynotes, both speakers were asked nearly identical questions along the lines of:
That all sounds great, but who is really publishing narrative stories like that right now? No one really wants to publish stories about the writer’s experiences with other cultures.
After this question, in both cases, a very curious thing happened.
When the topic of writing feature-length pieces for magazines in heavily formatted articles like round-ups or guides is broached amount freelance writers who don’t have those clips under their belt (yet), one of two emotions usually comes up:
- abject fear at writing something that long for a magazine (and how long it will take them to do it)
- absolute “I got this,” because you write these exact same types of pieces for blog posts
In case you can already tell where I’m going with this, neither of those is the “right” answer.
Are Newspapers Really Dead? (And How Learning to Write for Newspapers Will Actually Help You Write Better Online)
I’m sure you’ve seen or heard it in the news regularly.
Newspapers are dead.
Especially newspaper travel sections, right?
I can count on one hand the number of dedicated, just travel, newspaper editors remaining in the U.S.
Newspapers have taken numerous content turns, from Jeff Besos of Amazon acquiring the Washington Post and bringing his unique business sense to it to the Tribune corporation, known for the Chicago Tribune, which has pioneered a new business model very heavy on centralized content that is syndicated out and, at times, written entirely by machines. Besides Besos, celebrities like Ashton Kutcher are even buying newspapers.
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.
The Answer to the Perennial Travel Writer Question: How Can I Pitch This Hotel/Museum/Restaurant That’s Already Been Open for Years?
When you start planning a trip on your own or first get the bug of a press trip in your ear, the options of what to explore in a destination are tantalizing.
Nailing down the sense of place, honing in on the food culture in a new place, and the promise of highly quotable sources with exciting stories you would have never thought of all give you a high.
But we all know trips, attractions, interviews, hotels, and meals don’t always live up to our imaginings. Sadly!
Some parts of a trip will be brilliant and bring those great quotes and anecdotes and new story ideas you never would have had at home, but what do you do with the rest of it?
How do you get the best assignment-dollar-worth out of your on the ground research time?
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.
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.