On the flight home from the North American installment of the TBEX travel blogging conference today, I reflected back on the big-picture, future-of-the-industry conversations I’d been having over the part few days with travel writing heavy hitters from Don George to Gary Arndt to Chris Christensen.
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 had over the last few weeks both in my own Freelance Travel Writing Master Classes (which have been an amazing knowledge sharing opportunity for travel writing–both full-time and those on their way there–to see how other people approach this job) and in the conferences 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.
Even though I’m hearing incredibly exciting things from the people who pay for travel writing–from brands and destinations to publications–there are a lot of “established” or “successful” people who are not business-minded about their travel writing spreading a gospel of negativity about the process of becoming a paid travel writer.
And my biggest take away from the closing party conversations that were the culmination of days (at TBEX) and weeks (all over North America and across the pond) of introspection into the state of the industry was that, thankfully, there is one single, powerful step you can easily take to have an enormous impact on your travel writing income and business mindset: Adjust who is in your ear.
Are the travel folks you know all struggling? Complaining there’s no editors responding to their pitches? Wondering when their blogs will take off?
Or are they happy, forward-looking, and excited about both their future and the path that will take them there?
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut with any part of your writing or business, find ways to adjust your travel socializing to surround yourself with people in the place you want to be in rather than the one you’re trying to figure out how to leave.
How? You can go on more press trips to spend time with these writers, hit your local travel massive, or reach out to some people a couple steps beyond you and suggest a meet up or mastermind group. You can go “old school” and ask if you can take someone more experienced (but don’t go too far past where you are; two steps ahead is good) for coffee or a skype chat to pick their brain.
What about your non-travel social circle?
One coaching client of mine had a family that not only didn’t understand why she felt the need to leave her job and travel the world, but vehemently objected on religious grounds that she do it in the company of her boyfriend. Meanwhile, her boyfriend’s family was using financial coercion to keep the couple from achieving location independence.
You obviously can’t trade your family, but you can balance them out with cheerleaders and people on the same wavelength as you.
Or, better yet, people who are already doing it and will help show you the path and feel 100% confident that it exists and that you, too, can do it.