MatadorU Review: 12 Weeks to Travel Writing Success

MatadorU Review
16 September 2009 By: Print This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post         

It’s really clear that the folks behind the hugely successful MatadorNetwork have put a lot of thought and work into how they’ve structured MatadorU, their new Travel Writing Course.

Theirs is an amazing success story – Matador began with just an idea back in 2006, and it’s grown it into one of the top online travel magazines, with roughly 800,000 unique visitors each month, in just 3 years.

That’s a huge accomplishment. And they incorporated a lot of what they’ve learned about successful travel writing over the past three years into their new travel writing course.

I signed up last weekend and started their program, and I have to say I’m honestly impressed. I didn’t expect to be, because there are a lot of other travel writing courses out there, most of which are, at best, only mediocre.

MatadorU’s Travel Writing Course is a series of easily digestible chapters that lead you through the process step by step, complete with assignments.

Here’s a quote from David Miller, a Founding Editor of the Traveler’s Notebook and Senior Editor at Matador:

Basically what we’ve done at MatadorU is take the blueprint of how we’ve grown Matador (and how individuals have become successful professional travel writers), and break it down into easy to follow lessons.

The very first chapter is a really good primer on the history of travel writing and how the profession of travel writing came about, as well as how it’s evolved over time to what we know it as today (and where it may be going). There are also some really good examples of the various types of travel writing styles, and an explanation of dynamic vs. static (“evergreen”) content. The chapter ends, as each chapter does, with a writing assignment.

It’s a great education for new travel writers, and even though I’ve been writing for a long time, I really enjoyed it – it’s been many years since I focused on the basics, and I rarely have time to take an analytic look at the writing styles of others — which this chapter forced me to do (and for which I’m glad!). I have no doubt that the future chapters will be as well-presented as the first, and I’m looking forward to them.

Another thing I’m really excited about (and impressed with) is their Members-Only Forum for students of their travel writing course. In addition to the wide variety of other travel writers who are already active in the forum, it’s moderated by the same people who founded Matador and their Editorial team – you get honest feedback, advice, and insights from people who know good travel writing.

And I haven’t even yet mentioned the access to Market Leads, which provides students information about a number of paying travel writing opportunities. Even if their travel writing course WAS one of the mediocre ones, access to this kind of networking, feedback, and market leads alone is worth the price of the course.

Of course, if it was mediocre, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but this is one travel writing course that I feel good about encouraging you to check out.

As I go through this course I’m really looking forward to the lessons and to sharing my thoughts and experience with you. I hope I’ll see you in their Forum!


Have you checked out MatadorU? Share your thoughts and opinions!

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11 Responses to “MatadorU Review: 12 Weeks to Travel Writing Success”

  1. Julie


    I’m really thrilled that you joined the program, and more thrilled that you’re finding value in the course, particularly as a writer with lots of experience. I look forward to continuing to read your thoughtful contributions in the forums!

    • Thank you Julie! I’m really enjoying the forums – there are a lot of great discussions going on, and I really love that you and the other editors over at Matador take the time to give everyone such good feedback and encouragement!

  2. JoAnna

    I agree completely, Trisha. I have just a little, tiny bit of experience under my belt, but this course has me thinking a little bit differently about the way I write. For anyone considering the course, I also highly recommend it.

    • JoAnna whatever you may lack in experience you more than make up for with talent! And experience will come quickly.

      Congratulations on winning the WiFTy Scholarship! That’s quite an honor as I understand that there were quite a lot of entries recieved – bravo!

  3. Lori

    Thanks for this! I started looking into when they launched the tuition contest. It sounds like it is something I could really use.

    • I think it’s something that every writer can benefit from, because even small improvements in any aspect of writing for an online audience can have great results in terms of increased exposure and traffic, but most importantly if you can pick up new techniques that improve your writing style it can really positively impact your career.

      I love your blog – I’ve been following it and although I’m only so-so in the kitchen, I’ve even tried a few of your recipes – yum!

  4. Tara

    Thank you so much for writing this review Trisha. I am considering and will most likely register for the course. I’m pretty set on it and wanted to read some reviews from attendies.

    I recently started a blog and feel this will be a nurturing experience.

    P.S. I’m following you on Twitter now. :)

    Thank you again!

    Love, Light, Laughter & Life,
    Tara :)

  5. Hi Tara

    I’m glad you found the review helpful – MatadorU is a terrific writing course, and regardless of your genre you will learn some great narrative techniques that can improve anyone’s writing. And even though the market leads and publications they endorse are primarily for travel writing, you’ll still find some overlap with your own style and can likely find something useful there too.

    Good luck with your new blog!

  6. Its a pretty good review on what you can achieve in 12 weeks. I particularly like the style of the reviewing that you are doing.

    Do you offer any kind of training?

  7. Maria says:

    i wish i can participate matadorU’s travel writing courses..need to save for it first..thanks for sharing this very informative article esp. for me as a blogger.

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