Travel writer David Miller wrote an article titled “How to Write Better: 2 Thoughts on Self Awareness.” He provides a perspective on writing that makes clear the distinction between articles that are fictionalized narratives and those that are ‘self-aware’ (the former is one where you are drawn into the story and become part of it, the latter where you remain a reader, not a participant).
Here’s an excerpt from the article,
“…What saves me is good writing. Stuff that’s real, that hits all different emotional levels. Sad, happy, funny, whatever. David Sedaris comes to mind immediately, as does Sherman Alexie.”
While fictionalized narrative is great for a novel, or even a travel book where you want your readers to ‘travel’ with you on your journey (perhaps by sharing your personal experiences in a first-person voice), that isn’t always what Editors are looking for. It pays to know ahead of time what your intended audience is….and the best way to do that is by reading other articles published by the same publications or websites you plan to submit your article to. But don’t let that stop you from writing both! Create your ‘self-aware’ travel articles that perfectly describe the destination or event, and hopefully you’ll entice your readers into wanting to go there. And at the same time, create your compelling/amusing/emotionally captivating narrative, and hopefully you’ll seduce your readers into wanting to join you. Both types of travel writing have a place in the right medium. The key is to decide ahead of time what your outcome will be before you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.
Don’t make the mistake of not having a clear goal in mind before you write. As a writer, you’ll often wonder what editors are thinking when they are reading your work. But if an Editors is wondering what a writer was thinking while crafting an article, then the writer didn’t do his or her job well.
One comment made on David’s article was from Julie. She writes “…..What’s the purpose of this piece I’m writing?….. Who is my audience?” Julie makes a great point…..don’t limit yourself, but practice being “aware” of your audience and you’ll produce better articles.
Are you self-aware when you write?
This was a good article. I read the article on Brave New Traveler. Good stuff. I do my best to be self-aware. I like to inform my readers, but shy away from writing “fluffy” articles like “Top 10 Night Spots or “Top 10 Restaurants.” Just isn’t for me…
Cool article! Before you submit your writing, it’s a good idea to check contact the editor. Better yet, get your hands on a couple of copies of back issues of the publication. Study them and see if you’re a match…If not, find a publication that does match you or start your own publication :)
Good morning, good evening, or good afternoon! Where ever you’re at in the world — have a good time.
I enjoy writing destination articles. I love the nightlife and having a good time. I also have a killer sense of humor with a touch of sarcasm. Hey, it works for me. I don’t like being all serious and stuff. Life’s too short..Travel to have a good time and enjoy the ride! Not everyone’s striving to be in National Geographic.
I try not to do the Top 10 article, but sometimes I’ll write an article here and there, mostly because I can be lazy — at least I’m honest :)
Great post. The article “How to Write Better: 2 Thoughts on Self Awareness,” hit the “nail on the head.” I enjoy writing that is raw and emotional. I like to feel as if I’m traveling along with the author sensing what he’s sensing in addition to feeling what I’m feeling. It’s like being right there in the moment, having an experience without leaving my home. That’s sensational writing!
Am I self-aware as a writer? Good question. I would like to think that I am, but maybe I’m not. I do take into consideration my audience. After all, I’m writing for them NOT me. Hmmm…I’ll ponder this some more.