In Part 1 of this series we talked about managing the multiple income streams of the freelance lifestyle, and in Part 2 we listed some ways that you can actually make money as a travel writer.
Welcome to Part 3, where we will discuss how you can improve your writing skills so that your work is of a higher caliber and performs better.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” The stronger your writing skills are the better jobs you will get and the more successful you will be as a travel writer.
So how can travel writers sharpen their axes and improve their writing skills? Here are a few tips:
- Write often. Your writing skills are like a muscle and you can strengthen them by using them frequently. Even if you don’t have consistent work as a freelance travel writer yet you can keep your writing in shape by working on your own blog or writing in a journal every day.
- Take a course. Check out your local university or college to see if they offer continuing education courses in creative writing, journalism, or non fiction. You can brush up on writing techniques and polish your style.
- There are also writing courses online where you can learn more about the art and craft of travel writing from the comfort of your own home, such as the travel writing course at Matador U.
- Read a lot! If you want to be a successful travel writer, go to the library or the bookstore and take home as many travel memoirs and travel guides as you can carry. As you are reading through them, think about which ones appeal to you the most. Can you identify what those writers have done which makes their book more interesting than the others?
- Travel! It seems obvious, but to be a travel writer you will need to have a lot of travel experience for inspiration! If your finances are low you don’t need to fly around the world, as a trip just to the next city with an open mind for adventure could be the fuel for a great travel story.
- Show your travel writing to a trusted friend, professor, or someone else whose opinion you respect. Ask them to give you an honest critique of where you are doing well and how you could improve.
- Write postcards frequently. Postcards can be a great writing exercise because they require you to sum up the most interesting sights, sounds, and experiences of your destination in very few words. Plus, your friends and family love receiving them!
- Use the techniques of fiction in your travel writing. Although you are writing about real destinations and people, including rich metaphors, similes, and dialogue can really add interest to the story that you are telling.
- Brainstorm a list of creative approaches to travel articles. What about haunted tourist attractions, themed hotels, nature travel, or special events? Thinking of creative ways to approach the same destinations will keep your travel writing exciting and make it stand out.