Travel writers, do you look at the “glass half empty or glass half full?” Are you a BIG PICTURE person or a SMALL PICTURE person? How you approach your career as a travel writer is up to you. But, you could be missing out on some fantastic writing opportunities. Volunteering as a writer can open doors you can only imagine.
For example, I replied to an ad posted on TravelWriters.com for a volunteer/trial basis travel writer and travel editor at an online magazine. The magazine would like to “end up in print on magazine racks and bookshelves.” I sent an email to the editor and expressed my interest in the travel writer opportunity along with a sample of my work.
Yesterday, the CEO of the magazine contacted me and we had a lovely conversation. This is when I mentioned I do my own editing. He was thrilled and jokingly said “you could be our travel editor as well.” Well, guess what? Not only am I “locked-in” as the magazine’s travel writer, I’m also the travel editor. I could not believe what I was reading when I opened my email this morning. I am thrilled to have this opportunity. You really have no idea what this opportunity is going to turn into, but I do!
Yes, I will be writing on a volunteer basis at first, but it will turn into a PAID opportunity once the magazine finds an investor to back it. Believe me that will not be a problem. The magazine’s goal is to “launch” within six months!
Because of my “open-mind,” I have been presented with an AWESOME writing experience. The CEO of the magazine said to me “many writers inquired about our current positions but passed on them because they were not paid.” What’s that saying “your loss is my gain!” Sorry! But that is what happens when you have a closed mind. My advice to all writers is to think twice before you decline a writing assignment. Not only are you declining the assignment but the friendships/relationships you can develop as well. You never know who you will meet along the way.
Through my current opportunity, my writing will become stronger and more diverse. All of my writing endeavors differ from one another, and I would not have it any other way. Diversity is key for me!
- Transitions Abroad. They’re always on the lookout for new talent!
- World Volunteer Web. Click on the “Writing Effectively” link and find helpful tools and tips on writing for an organization.
- Freelance Writing Gigs. A great article about being a volunteer writer.
Anyone who lives or frequents Baja California Sur may want to contact Kim at Hunter Publishing. You may recall that I had the opportunity to write a guidebook for Hunter Publishing. Hunter Publishing prefers writers who live in the area or frequently (at least every other month or so) travel to the area in which they need a guidebook for. Unfortunately, that’s not me. But that’s all right because when one door closes, another one opens!
Keep an open mind,
Regarding working / writing for free: I think this is a dangerous slope because it is very possible that these “start-up” publications never take off. I agreed to write for such a magazine with the promise of pay and contacts in the travel industry. Neither of these has happened, and the magazine is quickly fizzling while the course I’ve cut for myself has gotten me much further in the travel industry. An article or two, maybe for people new to the industry, but people should definitely be wary of publications that just want content then kick their writers to the curb with nothing.
How has working for free been working for you? It’s been several months now; did it result in pay and more opportunities?
I agree that writing for free can be a slippery slope. However, you’ve got to start somewhere. If you begin to write for free for a publication and they plan to pay you after a certain period of time, get it in writing! Writers need to protect themselves.
I wrote for free for an online magazine which helped me get a “byline” and portfolio pieces. I was promised the “stars and moon,” but had a “gut instinct” this was not going to happen. It was a great experience all around. Now, I only write for free as part of a charitable donation. Other than that, I don’t write for free anymore.