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Her 10 Terrific Travel Writing Tips


Canadian Journeywoman Lori Beattie is dedicated to teaching the art of documenting travel. As one travellin' woman to another, she generously shares some tips from her cache of travel writing know-how. Lori writes...

Some travellers may simply be interested in recording their travel adventures in lined notebooks that they take out to reread every once in a while. Others will be a bit more ambitious. Their goal is to have one of their stories published on a website, in a local paper or magazine.

Here are my ten basic rules that will set you on the path. However, be forewarned -- many, many women who love to travel dream of free holidays in return for a terrific story. That is a myth. Selling a story is an extremely difficult job (yet not an impossible one). The competition is fierce and editorial budgets are small. Even if your story is chosen, a beginner may earn nothing or not very much from her local newspaper. Still, the successful writer will possibly get her foot into the front door and who knows where that door may lead?

If these ten pointers intrigue you I suggest you keep your eyes open for certified continuing education course on the art of travel writing. Not only will you learn an awful lot in the classroom you will also meet kindred souls who are irreplaceable when you'll need someone to appraise some of your future stories. Browse the shelves of your library or local book shops for titles about the art of travel journalism. It is not unheard of that a hobby becomes a wonderful first, second or third career.

Ed. note: Journeywoman welcomes travel writing teachers and students, alike, to e-mail: and tell us about courses that are available. Put "travel writing" in the subject line.

Make it easy for editors...

Before you go on your adventure, pick your angle. Remember, "Paris" is not the story, it's the destination. You, as the travel writer, must think of a unique way to present "Paris" to your readers. It is this special angle that will be necessary to grab the interest of a travel editor.

Know who you are! Are you a woman travelling alone through China? Then that may be your angle, your expertise. Perhaps you are a woman physician travelling alone through China. Suddenly more markets open up. You can write from the independent female traveller's angle or from that of a physician, or both, simultaneously. Are you a culinary expert who loves the tastes of the countries you visit? Lots of newspapers have food sections and there are many magazines dedicated to scrumptious stories from around the globe.

Editors are very busy people. The easier you can make their job the more chance you have of being published. Before sending a query to anyone, be sure to read their writers guidelines. You can write or call the publication for these guidelines.

Once you have read through the guidelines be sure to read some back-issues of the publication to get a feel for their style. It helps to know what they have published in the last year so you don't propose a repetitive story.

Never phone an editor and say "I'm going to Mexico, do you want any stories?" What you should say is "I'm going to Mexico and I have some angles for stories that I'd like to run by you......" If the editor is interested, she/he may invite you to submit your story ideas or angles on paper.

More fabulous writing tips...




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