Freelance travel writing is definitely not for people who expect the freelance world to conform to them.
A willingness to be flexible by adjusting our approaches, writing styles, topics, and sales and marketing techniques, is absolutely essential if we want to see our work published in print, and be paid for it.
We must adapt to the writing environment, rather than the other way around. Writers who refuse to adjust their ways reduce their chances of being published unless they drastically change their approach.
Here are some real-life examples of obstinate writer’s habits that will preclude our chances of success.
- The writer insists that she wants to write her articles before pitching them.
- The writer doesn’t want to become a “slave”, marketing to magazines that he doesn’t care about.
- The (novice) writer expects to step straight into high-end magazines without working his way up the totem pole by starting with more modest magazines.
- The writer refuses to change his writing style to fit the tone of the magazine he wants to write for.
- The writer continues to work for the same old clients without constantly chasing new work.
- The writer avoids creating magazine distribution lists because it’s time consuming and boring.
- The writer gets into projects that interest him and then tries to create stories that will sell. Except they don’t, because the writer didn’t research the salability of the topics first.
- The writer believes he’s a failure at pitching stories after just a few rejections.
- The writer believes it will be easy to find a half dozen print magazines that will allow him to write for them regularly.
These examples are all from real life freelance writers whom I have encountered in the past 11 years.
The problems listed above can be easily remedied with some flexible thinking by the writer and adjusting his or her habits. In every case, these writers would have been successful if they’d realized their rigid beliefs were holding them back.
Once we realize we have a problem that’s preventing us from progressing along our travel writing journey, then it’s much easier to learn, adapt, and change.
Successful travel writers happily adapt their approach to freelance writing to accommodate the needs of the magazine editors and the readers. They understand they’re in the freelance writing game for the long haul and they must change their attitudes and habits when necessary.
Successful travel writers query their story ideas before they write them. To spend many hours—even days—writing an article with the hope of selling it is a path to madness and despair.
Successful writers adapt their writing style to the publications they’re querying. Editors are not interested in working with writers who are not flexible with their writing. Insisting on sticking to one writing style will be a major limiting factor in your success. By the way, this is not as big a deal as it sounds. After a while, you learn how to adapt and adjust your writing style and voice to keep the editors happy.
Successful writers know that the time to look for new clients is the moment they’ve landed a new client.
Successful writers push through the time consuming process of preparing magazine distribution lists, knowing this is a crucial step to getting their work published and getting paid for it.
Successful novice writers understand they can’t be picky with the magazines that publish their work. They’ll happily and gladly take on any assignments—and do them well.
Successful writers understand that rejection is simply a part of the freelance writing learning process—and that rejection is not personal. They don’t get despondent when they receive those, “Sorry, this isn’t a good fit for our magazine” emails.
Successful writers happily rewrite their stories when an editor requests it. In fact, they know they’ll be better writers for it.
That’s what my coaching & mentoring and eBooks are all about. I point out where writers are making mistakes, and then provide solutions to help them sell their articles and improve their writing.
One couple I’ve been coaching for two years accepts every piece of advice I give them—without question—and then makes the changes. No ego here. They just want to get published. And surprise, surprise . . . their stories are selling like hotcakes! They’re scoring luxury press trips that would even make the pros drool.
This couple is currently running at a publication acceptance rate of 60% …Astronomical! Most veteran freelance travel writers run at an acceptance rate between 25% and 40%.
The freelance travel writing arena is fluid and unregulated. There are no norms and gold standards. Your job is to conform to the needs of the magazine editors and readers, rather than expecting publications to conform to your needs.