First thing, learning to write well.
The word that best describes me is an expressionist. I wear my emotions on the outside and have a need to make my feelings known. Because of this, I often write about travel the way I would write in my journal: too much about me. Luckily, there are books like Travel Writing by Lonely Planet and Don George that can help you understand how to write about a place and infuse yourself in the piece the right way. Since there’s no real way to become a better travel writer other than to write constantly (and Matador U), I will continue to work on my pieces, keeping in mind some of the important ideas from Don George and other predominant writers in the world today:
Travel writing, more than any other kind of writing, has to transport you, has to teach you about the world, has to inform you, and, ideally, has to take you into deeper and deeper questions about yourself and the world…get the reader to see the world as a question.
Bad writing often comes from bad traveling – and bad travel is unimaginative, uninformed and unoriginal.
Writing about everything you did on holiday should be kept strictly between you and your diary; you need to find the theme that will interest an editor.
Just as your parents told you role models are important, so they still are today when it comes to more than just character development. If you like blogging, you probably know of other successful bloggers whom you’d like to learn from. Let the following article be a lesson to you that you can actually ask these role models for advice! Read and then try this exercise yourself. How One Small Blogger Got the Advice from Eight Top Bloggers
Recently, a friend and fellow travel blogger mentioned her discomfort with revealing her “heart and soul” that she puts in her writing. However, she wants to be a part of the travel community through blogging, making this hurdle one worth leaping over. The heart and soul thing has been a practice of mine since grade school. I only just let my more private thoughts be heard in public in the last year or so. It helps to keep a journal of the most raw and revealing writing and sifting through that to find what you’re comfortable sharing. I’ve got a handmade paper, bound journal I’ve been holding dear since junior year of high school. It’s almost filled to the brim.
After more and more writing, that comfort margin gets wider and wider. The only thing that holds me back is knowing my grandparents can read my blogs. If it were up to me, I’d let it all hang out because the difference between a good writer and a great writer is courage. There’s a reason why only some writers make it. It’s definitely a hard battle to fight, and once you prepare yourself for the fact that people could come down on you for one single misinterpreted word or one skewed connotation, you’ll realize the fear of the critic isn’t worth biting your tongue. And to reveal the inner mind is incredibly exposing, but therapeutic and essential for processing life and the world you see (if you’re a writer at heart).
Start with what you’re comfortable telling, then write some pieces that reveal more and make you proud. Start having people you feel comfortable with proofreading, and soon you won’t mind who is reading your stuff. It’s easy to be a critic and takes no credentials to be one. But it takes guts to write and be the one to offer the voice and the opinions. People will respect those who put themselves on the line for what they believe in. If this is what you want to do, the comfort will come.
Making Money with the Help of the Experienced
I’ve mentioned Nomadic Matt multiple times on this page, throughout my website, and on various tweets out into the twitterverse. I reiterate his name and his abilities because he’s got mad skill in making his living travel blogging. This spring he created an ebook that detailed how to make money with your travel blog, and everyone in the genre went jumping for it. I was traveling during the time this ebook was circling the eworld, and now that I’ve come home and looked around, I see references to it everywhere. I’m going to buy it, and if you’re interested in being a travel blogger, I suggest you buy it as well. Click here to view more details
The Unavoidable Tweet-omenon
Most people take their first glance at Twitter and say, “What a lame concept. I don’t want to hear peoples mundane hourly thoughts.” I thought it looked ridiculous, like an amped up version of Facebook statuses, when my friend, Alexis, introduced it to me this winter.
But just as we all have troubles with every big change in Facebook or dealing with the newest technological advancement that make our old ways obsolete, Twitter is apparently what me must come to accept and grab hold of.
I wouldn’t really know how to work it if I weren’t using it mainly as a means of getting hits on my website. Every once in a while, I stumble on something that makes me laugh and want to share it, but I get excited when I see most clicks to my website come from my status reports.
If you’re new to Twitter, check out this article on ways to make it work for you. And if you want a good laugh, check out this video from Current TV. It makes me laugh out loud every time.
Personal Advice from a Top Dog
I had a long talk with Gary Arndt today, whose travelogue at
has a massive following. His advice was fantastic, some of which I have listed below.
Don’t ignore marketing. It’s in many ways more important than content.
Raw traffic cannot compare with loyal subscribers
In order to be a success, you have to be in this for the long haul
Your goal should be to get your name out there. Make sure everyone who should know you, knows you. Do some guest posts for other blogs. Get a crap load of links to your blog. Start talking to people in the travel blogging/writing world.
Links = everything
Gary is currently in Israel and has been traveling for over two years. You can subscribe to his daily photos, blogs, and insight here.
The Journey to Full-time Writing
A Manifesto Worth Reading. Chris Guillebeau has become a notable name in Location Independent living and has recently released a free 79-page ebook that discusses his “unconventional journey to full-time writing”. He now makes his income solely from his website.
- First and foremost, you gotta produce some content, so put everything you have floating around in your head, anything worthy of reading or marketing, on paper or online.
- My apologies, Blogger, for you were so good to me for two years, but WordPress is far superior in terms of free blog hosting. The theme choices, customizable options, widgets, statistics and constant feedback make it a dream to work with. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough with Blogger, but the fact that WordPress willingly imported all my old blogs and comments in minutes, along with instantly offering the ease of a personalized domain change, made it a done deal over anything else like Yola and so on.
- You gotta find your niche. You can’t just be someone who really likes to travel. There are millions of people who feel the same way and thousands of writers who do it already. The way to get viewers is to claim legitimacy in the form of knowledge that no one else has. If you don’t believe me as far as the numbers are concerned, check out these lists: here, here, here, and I could keep going for sure.
- Getting into the main social networks is crucial. As much as you hate it, tweet and follow other little birdies. Connect with other people you admire and can learn from. From what I gather, part of being productive in this blogging industry is balancing your creation with your connections…as well as your consumption in other people’s production. In short, read others’ stuff, talk to them about it, and share what you’ve done. I now have a post-it on my desk that covers these three C buzz words and details the actions I often do under these descriptions. Right now, I am creating :).
- There’s something called Search Engine Optimization, SEO for short, and I haven’t figured it out yet (which is seemingly what even those in-the-know keep saying), but Nomadic Matt knows a thing or two, it seems. At least, he’s vocal enough to share what he learns as he goes. I’d say the key to performing well in this business is to have an understanding of this practice.
More to come. Leave comments on what interests you and if you have any insight to offer! I obviously am only just beginning.