Writing is a dream career for many. Much like acting or singing, the majority of us have at least some curiosity about the lifestyle. In fact, it’s thought that at least 90% of Americans harbor dreams of penning a best-seller. In a previous article, we looked at what it really takes to write a novel, revealing that the path isn’t all plain sailing.
The good news is, novel writing isn’t the only route into the coveted world of words. In fact, there are a variety of in-routes, including journalism, blogging, and travel writing. And, we’re going to focus on the latter today. It’s an area of writing we don’t hear much about, but it’s the ideal route for keen travelers who have a way with words. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a better life for such people than paying their way around the world with a pen.
But, how do you break into the field in the first place? We all know that to get a novel published, you have to get an agent, and blah, blah, blah. But, what about travel writing? In many ways, finding success is much the same in any writing field. But, we’re going to look at a few pointers which could help you on your way.
- Find your niche
- Decide what you want to write (travel memoir, articles, etc.)
- Practice, practice, practice
- Start a blog and post your writing
- Find magazines to submit to, or an agent if writing a book
- Keep going until something sticks
So, you see, it isn’t all that different to the route you already know so well. As with writing a novel, perseverance is vital.
With that in mind, it’s time to head off and get started. This is where travel writing gets a little different. You can’t just sit in your office and imagine all those exotic destinations. Instead, you need to head out and see them for yourself. And, before you do, you need to ensure that you’ve packed a sufficient travel writing toolkit. Lucky for you, we’re going to look at the resources you should consider including.
A pen and notebook
Obviously, you need a way to record your observations. You should never head to destination without a notepad and pen in your bag. Any writer will tell that, if you don’t get it down the moment you think of it, you won’t remember it when you come to write. Inspiration is always fleeting, and this is especially true in travel writing. Bear in mind that you can’t just make this stuff up. A good travel writer is as accurate as possible. You want your readers to feel as though they really saw these places. So, everywhere you visit, make a note of the texture of the bricks, the smell, and the sound of the people around you. You might not use it all, but it’s crucial you note these recollections!
A language dictionary
In all honesty, you’ll struggle to find success as a travel writer if you don’t throw yourself into the heart of each journey. As such, you should always pack a language dictionary for your destination. Spend time reading it, and aim to be at least semi-able with the language by the time you head home. This will ensure you can write authentic pieces, which get to the heart of your destination. It’ll also enable you to play with words while you’re writing. Including the odd local phrase will enhance the exotic feeling of your pieces.
Even if you manage to jot down every sensation, it’ll be a real help if you have a visual cue to operate with as well. As such, it’s essential you take a reliable point and shoot camera along, and snap anything which inspires you. Bear in mind that you don’t need to be the best new photographer to make this work. In fact, your shots may be more inspiring if you take them fast, and often. You do, after all, want details, rather than the overall picture. A snap of a wall, or a fleeting ray of light, could inspire your piece and give you a framework. As such, it’s worth looking at cameras you can simply point and shoot, like those listed on https://www.pcmag.com. These also offer the benefit of being compact and easy to carry. After all, you want to feel free to move around without worry. A bulky camera will not help you embrace the nomadic lifestyle.
It’s also worth taking a laptop along with you. You don’t have to take this out and about every day, but keeping it in your hotel could prove a huge help. It’s worth typing up your notes from each day, to ensure you don’t lose all your work if you misplace your notebook. The further into your writing journey you get, the more you’ll understand this need to backup everything you do. If you’re blogging your trip, it’s also worth uploading while you’re still experiencing a destination. Most hotels now offer free wifi, so you can connect at the click of a button and give your readers real-time updates. This can be a really stimulating and fresh way to share your experiences.
You’ll also find that online research while you’re away is a massive help in formulating your ideas. Perhaps you’re in Rome and want to do a little more research into the history of the Colosseum. Or, maybe you’re in North Carolina, and want to get a different angle on the Riley Moore Falls using a site like www.hdcarolina.com. Here, you can watch videos of the falls, and slow them down or pause them whenever it suits. You could spot something that you totally missed when they were right in front of you! Even better, you can always head back the next day and see it for yourself again.
Other than that, all you need is yourself, and an inquisitive mind. That, and a little perseverance, because Rome wasn’t built in a day after all…