7 Warning Signs You’re Sabotaging Your Travel Writing

7 Signs you may be sabotaging your writing career
16 June 2014 Post Author:
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Thanks to the internet, your travel writing is available for everyone to read.

And for new writers, this can be scary.

After all, these days everyone’s a critic, and you may not want to be judged. Who does?

Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced travel writer, you may allow fear and doubt to crush your writing career.

It’s good to occasionally get out of your comfort zone. No risk, no reward.

Before this happens, discover the warning signs that you’re sabotaging your travel writing and take steps to stop it.

7 Warning Signs You’re Sabotaging Your Travel Writing

  1. You don’t ask for constructive feedback.
    Asking for constructive feedback on your travel writing can help you improve it. However, you may have a fear of rejection. Therefore, you may not seek out writers who can give you the constructive feedback that may take your writing to the next level.
  2. You don’t believe in your travel writing.
    However, if you’re always asking others their opinion of your travel writing, you may not believe in your writing. While it’s good to occasionally get constructive feedback, it’s another to constantly ask others, “What do you think of my writing?” Likewise, if you’re uncomfortable with receiving accolades, you may not believe in your writing. Don’t shrink away. Say, “Thank You,” and accept praise with grace.
  3. You don’t connect with other travel writers.
    Being part of a writers’ community or small group can be extremely helpful. If you’re not networking, ask yourself why. You may not connect with other travel writers because you fear they’ll steal your ideas or not support you. If another writer steals your idea, so be it. You can think of 10 more. You may even realize that the idea you had wasn’t that great. Don’t be afraid to join travel writing groups. If one group doesn’t work out, find another one.
  4. You don’t pitch travel editors properly.
    Most travel editor’s “pet peeve” about writers is that they don’t know how to pitch them. You can make your editor love you by learning how to pitch them. For example, read the writer’s guidelines that every publication has. If you need to email your pitch, do it. And pitch travel articles that are unique. Or if you can “spin” a common travel article topic, for example, traveling with pets, show travel editors your fresh idea.
  5. You don’t take risks with your travel writing.
    Like most travel writers, at some point you may get bored with your writing. However, you may not take risks and write in a different voice or attempt to write different travel stories. No risk, no reward. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. Plus, you may surprise yourself and find another travel writing niche that could boost your career.
  6. You don’t have an online presence.
    Are you on social media? Do you have a website or portfolio site? If you’re not using these online tools, you’re missing out on important travel writing opportunities. You’re also missing out on the opportunity to connect with travel publication editors as well as influential people within the travel industry.

    These days a PR firm, CVB, or destination considering hosting a trip rarely consider a travel writer who lacks a strong (professional) online presence and social media platform.

  7. You don’t compare yourself to others, in a good way.
    You’ve probably heard that it’s not a good idea to compare yourself to others. However, you could turn this into a positive. For example, you could read successful travel writing articles and ask yourself, “How can I do that?” You could use the work of other travel writers to inspire you to become a better writer and strengthen your writing skills. Who knows? You may learn something new about travel writing that will help you to stop sabotaging your writing career.

Take Control of Your Travel Writing

~ Tip #1: From this point forward, invest in your travel writing career. Attend conferences, classes, and workshops. If you think you can’t afford it, you may want to cut back on expenses, like your morning $4 coffee from your favorite coffee shop. Go through your closet or basement and sell what you can. Even if you can only attend one conference a year, it’s better than nothing.

~ Tip #2: Also, stop reading too much. This may seem counterintuitive. You’ll often hear that to BE a good travel writer, you need to READ a lot of good travel writing — and this is true … to a point. But you can also overdo it, and if you spend all your time reading, you won’t have time for travel writing.

Remember that your travel writing career is in your hands. Whether you’re a success or not is up to you.

~ Amanadah

4 Responses to “7 Warning Signs You’re Sabotaging Your Travel Writing”

  1. Excellent points, Amandah! I see a lot of newbie travel bloggers making at least some (and sometimes all) of these mistakes.

    I think of most importance is — beyond just having a social media presences — understanding how to properly and effectively use that platform……too often I see travel bloggers and travel writers using just one account for both their personal and professional outreach, which is not a good idea. As an editor, I’m very interested in what the writers & bloggers I’ve connected with are up to professionally, but I really don’t want my Facebook timeline/Twitter stream/whatever inundated with news about their family’s personal comings and goings, or what games they’re playing online, etc. In my opinion it’s critical to keep that separate.

  2. Amandah says:

    Hi Trisha,

    It’s great to be on TWE!

    I agree that that travel writers need professional social media accounts. It’s okay to interject your personality or even share a story that somehow ties back to travel writing, like a family vacation. However, you don’t want to bombard followers, potential clients and editors, with the goings on in your life.

  3. Roderick Eime
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’d like to simplify this advice and reverse the cart/horse metaphor by suggesting budding travel writers actually hone their English and grammar skills before even thinking about pitching or putting their name and work out there. Some of the writing I read, usually on self-published blogs, is quite banal at best. Cliches fester like pustules and any objectivity was left somewhere back by the side of the road in that crumpled pile of ethics. You don’t have to be a Pulitzer-winning journalist, but at least have some concept of how to conduct yourself professionally and if you don’t have something useful or constructive to say or write – then shut the heck up. As someone who has been writing professionally for more than 30 years and laments the casual carelessness of much ‘modern’ writing, I still think there is a place for well-researched, honest and responsible travel writing. Just that those places are getting fewer.

    • Bravo, Roderick! I applaud your courage in standing against the tidal wave of change. I too lament the casual carelessness of today’s writers, most of whom are untrained and unconcerned about their lack of professionalism. The problem is that anyone can slap up a blog or website, call it a ‘magazine’, and claim journalist status. Sadly, the travel writing genre is the easiest to exploit by any hobbyist blogger who’s ever gone on a trip. Does the average person learn to use their laptop and subsequently decide to become a tech writer? No. Yet I’ve met hundreds of bloggers who call themselves ‘travel writers’ or even ‘editors’ without one whit of training in either writing or editing.

      That said, I occasionally wonder what the great Mr. William Shakespeare would have thought of some of the great writers of the 20th century…..no doubt he’d have railed against some of the language used in novels we consider to be award-winning quality.

      Somewhere there must be a good path through the ever-evolving nature of language that still stresses the basics of good spelling and grammar but allows for differences in conversational style, cultural opinion, individual POV, and regional dialect. One can only hope that this path will veer away from over-used cliches, but I’m afraid that as long as cliché-ridden articles get published, writers will never learn to use their inherent ability to be original.

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