Making Mountains Out Of Molehills

1 August 2009 Post Author:
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As with most cliches, this one is pretty self-explanatory – making more out of something than what you (seemingly) start with. Most often it’s used in a negative way to describe someone’s behavior — when a person is making a huge deal out of a trivial problem.

But it seems appropriate when I advise new travel writers to use this concept when they write, and avoid a common mistake that a lot of travel writers make when they are just getting started in this business….which is, that they go on a trip and when they come home they write an article about it.

What’s wrong with that you ask?

Notice that I said “AN” article. A lot of new travel writers write “an” article, then struggle to find things to write about in between trips.

An experienced travel writer knows that from one trip comes many articles. A really good travel writer can/should/ does write for weeks – sometimes months – from one trip. They know that there are many different angles to every story — many facets, many perspectives from which to view their trip.

The key is to expand your story by expounding on any given facet – a food & wine writer, for example, might write several articles about the cuisine of the region they visited, reviews of each of the restaurants they ate in, inteviews with several of the chefs at those restaurants, reviews of the wines they enjoyed, an article on wine growing in the region, or the history of a particular famous local dish or style of cooking. A Travel writer might choose to focus on a particular event they attended or attraction they visited, an in-depth review of a Spa they enjoyed, or the warmth and hospitality of the people they met. There are literally dozens of travel articles that can come from a short 3 or 4 day trip!

This is where keeping really good notes in a journal comes in handy — not to mention loads of digital photos to capture every memory — and I strongly encourage you to include both a small video camera (like the FLIP Video Ultra we’re giving away!) AND a voice recorder (there are many tiny pocket-sized ones that hold a couple of hours of voice-recorded notes) for those times when you don’t want to forget a thought but don’t have your notepad or journal handy. These are the tools of the trade for an experienced travel writer.

When you return home from a trip (or even on the flight home), start jotting down your article ideas – just the topics and titles – and maybe flesh out a few concepts and an outline for each. That way as you focus on one article, you won’t forget all those great ideas you had for other articles. And often as you’re writing one article, it inspires an idea for another! Write down that idea while it’s fresh in your mind.

By taking somethiing small — some single part of your trip — and writing an article just about that, you’ll soon be a prolific travel writer, creating huge mountain ranges out of a bunch of tiny molehills. That’s a good thing :)

~Trisha

How many articles does a trip inspire you to write? Share your experience!

3 Responses to “Making Mountains Out Of Molehills”

  1. Joann says:

    What great advice! Visiting with friends who have just returned from a trip to China reaffirmed what you have said. They had dozens of stories about their experiences and all worth repeating. Thanks once again.

  2. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    @Joann – thank you! That’s a great point and a good example of what I’m talking about – when you have a lot of different stories to tell people about your trip, you should have a lot of articles to write. You may of course give someone a broad overview of your trip, but then you’ll regale your friends with a single tale about the charming cafe you enjoyed a few meals at and the cute waiter who always seemed to be working…….filling in the story with all those rich details that you’d leave out of the quick overview. That’s what a good travel writer does!

  3. Rebecca
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great advice! I will be writing a ton of articles from my Northern California road trip. Not only do I have travel writing articles, but I have other articles to write. Some of my angles in addition to travel are environment/conversation, freelance writing, businesses and customer service, real estate, self discovery, and other topics as they ‘pop’ into my head. I think I’m up to a total of 10 articles!

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