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Getting Past the First Hurdle in Travel Writing
by Roy A. Barnes
Writers wishing for their very own published travel
article for pay often won’t take the first step to realizing this
goal. They defeat themselves right off the bat by answering “NO”
to their own question, “Will anyone be interested in the places
or experiences I’ve had while away from home?” Such negative
mind talk couldn’t be further from the truth.
Why do I say this with such assuredness? Because I would estimate that
at least 99 per cent of the published travel articles which are in existence
today have been crafted by those who initially witnessed another’s
travel experience via a print publication, online, or by television/film.
Those documented experiences broke the ground or continued to till the
literary earth for future travel-themed subject matter. As a result, the
domino effect continues in generating further interest by people who desire
to experience what they read about and/or saw.
It isn’t necessarily a destination piece from the Sunday travel
section of a newspaper about an escape from the daily humdrum of routine
life that hooks the reader into wanting to experience the adventure of
travel. Think about the buzz Marco Polo stirred up in Europe over the
Orient by way of his written and spoken about adventures. Sometimes, it
could be a less famous, but just as entertaining account of the grandparent’s
misadventures with their grandkids in their restored Winnebago while traversing
across the United States. Reading a novel like The Da Vinci Code or the
Harry Potter series, both of which are full of travel hotspots, may inspire
some readers to experience the same venues of a novel’s protagonist(s)
in as realistic a way as possible, and then write about it. I want to
share some samples of the travel article titles and ideas I’ve had,
along with the ensuing nay-saying thoughts (in italics) which
came to my mind when I considered writing, and then submitting the following
- The Angels of Cape Town: Cape Town Tourist Police
whisk naïve traveler to the safety of the city’s harbor front.
(Aren’t there enough angel stories on TV or in religious magazines
so the travel industry will not touch this?)
- Volunteers Wanted For Spanish Experience: Volunteer
work in remote areas of Spain where the participants just talk, talk,
and talk some more. English only all week. (Too one-dimensional
for any real interest.)
- Running in Airports: Don't Waste Your Pre-Departure
or Layover Time! (Don’t travelers think that exercising at
LAX is reserved just for those who run because they are about to miss
- My Travelin’ Roots: about a child’s travels
in a semi-truck when school was out. (Isn’t this the kind
of subject matter kids submitted to their 5th grade teachers for an
English essay – that “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”
My will was stronger than my negative self-talk, and I submitted all
the above works. Rejections and re-tweaking the articles followed. But
the end result was publication for pay for each of them, including as
reprints. Sometimes the accepting editors did change the titles and content
a bit, but nonetheless, my writings did create interest in other people
outside my social, work, and family sphere.
To reiterate, the roots of these successes stem from the works of other
writers, who, in their pioneer-like fashion, got me interested in their
places of interest: I was captivated. I experienced them in my own way,
then wrote about them with my own interpretation and style (plus facts
where required), pitched them, had them rejected, but through persistence,
finally found a home for the above works.
Don’t let negative self-talk convince you that your globetrotting
experiences aren’t of interest to a wider audience!
Here are some paying online markets to get you started. Study the sites
to see what they specifically look for and how to pitch the query/article...
© Copyright 2006, Roy A. Barnes
Roy A. Barnes writes from southeastern Wyoming. Besides Writing for DOLLARS!,
his writing-themed works have appeared at The Willamette Writer, Write-from-home.com,
Writers Weekly, The Fabulist Flash, The Dabbling Mum,
and others. His travel- and literary-themed works have been published by such
mediums as Transitions Abroad, The Goblin Reader, The
First Line, Northwest Prime Time, The Traveler, The
Kids' Ark, Live Life Travel, and Poesia.
Other articles by Roy A. Barnes :
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