Friday, November 30, 2007

Five Reasons to go to a (travel) writers conference…

Last week I posted a list of Travel Writing Conferences and Workshops being held around the world in 2008.

But they are not cheap. The registration fees are usually over a hundred dollars and often you have to travel a great distance to get there.

So why go at all?

1. To network, network, network - it’s the best chance you’ll ever get to meet and network with writing professionals, including editors and agents. At many of these conferences, attendees have the opportunity to have one-to-one meetings with editors. Where else would you have an chance to pitch your idea face to face. Have business cards and portfolio at the ready.

2. Support and Empathy - it’s a great place to meet fellow writers and trade ‘war stories’ about writing. Let’s face it - your family and friends might support you but it doesn’t mean they understand the agony and ecstasy of working up a pitch, getting an assignment (or not) and seeing your work in print.

Writing is a solitary pursuit, so grab the opportunity to meet and mix with writers. Don’t know what to say - easiest opening line ‘what do you write about?’ or ‘who do you write for?’

3. Inspiration - the workshops and seminars offered at writer’s conferences can stimulate the brain and thought processes with new ideas and possibilities. You’ll be surrounded by creative people whose minds are buzzing with ideas and insights - be a part of it and share ideas and thoughts. Don’t be shy.

4. Education - conferences and workshops are an excellent place to continue your education on writing techniques and the business of writing. Check out the list of seminars and choose ones that are appropriate for you. Aim to pick up some nuts and bolts tips on everything from time management, query writing to filing taxes as a freelance writer. It will pay off in the long run.

5. New Markets - there are always free sample publications available as well as writer’s guidelines and business cards to collect. Always have pen and paper handy to write down websites, editors names and email addresses. And again, take plenty of business cards to hand out.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interview with a Travel Writer (s) ...

Check out these great travel writer interviews…

Travel Writer Kate Siber was interviewed over at Vagablonding by Rolf Potts.

Rolf Potts was interviewed over at Wittenburg Door. Apparently Rolf sold his very first article to this religious humor magazine fifteen years ago and they thought it would be interesting to find out what he has learned since then.

Tim Leffel, travel writer and editor of Perceptive Travel, was interviewed over at Brave New Traveler.

Best quote : [Aiming to] “Break into travel writing” is a good goal, but “making a living at travel writing” is a whole other goal, one much higher and more difficult to attain—and getting harder I might add. I would suggest reading this: The 7 Myths of Being a Travel Writer.” (Tim Leffel)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Top Travel Blogs and Websites 2007...

It’s the season of list and here’s what’s available regarding travel websites and travel blogs.

The 7 most influential travel bloggers of 2007

* Mark Ashley at Upgrade: Travel Better

* Paul Brady at Jaunted

* Arthur Frommer at Frommers

* Holly Hegeman at Plane Buzz

* Wendy Perrin at The Perrin Post

* Ben Popken at Consumerist

* Rick Seaney at

Best Travel Websites 2007 from Travel-Rants, on the other hand, has a list of Best Travel Websites presented in award form. The categories include travel community, travel in the media, travel inspiration, holiday/hotel reviews, travel search, and Best of the Web.

Other travel blog lists worth checking out include…

Top of the blogs from Benji Lanyado at Guardian Unlimited.

Top 10 Big Media Travel Blogs from Igugo.

50 Best Travel Websites of 2007 from Times Online.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

New Article at 'the traveler's notebook'...

I have a new article online at the traveler's notebook ...

How To Work New Zealand Wineries

FYI: Am off to Wellington for the weekend so there'll be no posts till Monday.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Interview with a Travel Writer…Abha Malpani

Today we talk with Abha Malpani who is in the process of developing her career as a travel writer. Currently she blogs for a number of sites - Written Road, Gridskipper, Vagablogging, and Gadling as well as writing for Map Magazine and Travel Mag.

I had the chance to meet up with Abha when I was in Madrid earlier this year. We sat and talked writing over a beer in the Plaza Santa Ana on a warm summer afternoon. Since then, I thought it would be interesting to interview Abha for My Year of Getting Published. Luckily, she agreed.

Hi Abha and welcome to My Year of Getting Published. Thanks for taking time to talk.

1. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get started in writing?

In school I used to edit the school magazine. I always enjoyed that. After that, I hardly wrote at all. Occasionally I would get writing fits and just write in my journal; sometimes I would gift people personal write-ups for their birthdays, that’s about all the writing I did.

Then I went to University, but the school didn’t accommodate journalism courses with my marketing and management major – so I missed out on any formal training at Uni. In attempt to nurture my writing into some form, I signed up to do the UK based Writers Bureau Writing Course, but never finished it!

After a working for a few years in advertising, I moved to public relations when I realised that was where I could blend my marketing skills with my desire to write. But public relations writing didn’t hit the spot as I couldn’t write what I wanted the way I wanted. I was whipped into writing subtle marketing copy for press releases of big multinationals that really wasn’t much fun.

So, as you see writing never was my primary focus – it has always been lurking around though. My Indian roots and pressure to have a high-flying career perhaps was another element that subconsciously didn’t let me fully focus on a writing career; but that’s retrospection.

So just wanting to write (and rant!) I opened a personal blog. Now I write for five blogs, two of which pay me! From blogging I have made quite a few connections and today do manage to get the odd paid gig in magazines.

2. What do you consider your first "break" as a travel writer?

Bored and depressed with my public relations job, I would spend hours online looking for a way out of it. I didn’t know what I wanted, what else could I do? I was so lost. All I knew was that I was 26, and this couldn’t be my life. I knew I wanted to travel. I knew that I wanted to leave Dubai (where I had been working in a high-stress corporate environment for the last 4-years). So I started looking for ways to move abroad with a mission to do with something I liked.

That’s when I came across the website Transitions Abroad where I found a piece written by Newley Purnell. He had a similar background as me, with similar interests and he was travelling the world, living where he wanted, teaching English and writing. I got hooked onto his life, read his blog religiously and one fine day, wrote to him. At the time, he was a contributor to Gridskipper, and when the editor of Gridskipper planned a trip to Dubai, Newley told him to get in touch with me. He interviewed me for a report on Dubai, and then asked me my plans. By then I had decided to move to Spain – so he asked if I would like to contribute to Gridskipper from Spain! That was my first break, and it was a really lucky one that resulted from random networking.

3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to break into travel writing?

Well, I think there are a few important things to keep in mind here. You have to write -- a lot -- all the time! And don’t give up your day job to be able to do so; or if you do, make sure you have some other form of income because it could take you a good while before you live off travel-writing.

After blogging continuously for 2-years, other than my blog, I now write for 5 blogs – all in the travel industry -- 2 pay me, but they really don’t pay for more than my beer. I teach English to pay my bills, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. I couldn’t have written as much as I do now with my PR job, English teaching allows me to work on my time, so it’s a good mix.

The other thing is networking. You have to know people in the industry, and keep a tab on what they are doing. There are many ways to make this happen; most of it can happen from your computer in your house. Know who edits what site / what magazine. Pitch stories, leave comments, interact with these people. If they are in your country, try to meet them.

Join a writers group. Every place has them. You will be surprised who you may land up meeting. In my writers group here in Madrid, I met a travel-writer who wrote the Moon Handbook to London. Now the book needs updating and he wants help – maybe I have an opportunity there. What did I do? Have a beer with him in some bar. I met Liz from this blog also through online connections. When she came to Madrid, we had a beer, now I’m being interviewed for her website! So yeah, network network network.

Lastly, be persistent and don’t give up. I got my Written Road gig from networking online and being persistent. The regular writing I did on my blog showed my writing style and skills, and that’s all I needed to demonstrate that I like to, and want to write. I was pushy about getting that gig so my determination coupled with persistence (and perhaps a tinge of aggressiveness) got me blogging at Written Road. Things just rolled on from there really.

4. What do you see as the future for travel writers in the printed media and online?

I think a plethora of opportunities have opened up for writers, thanks to the shift online. Even though they don’t pay as well as print media, I definitely think online travel-writing is the future. Be it news, features, opinion, experiences, advice or even travel guides, it’s all moving online at an incredible rate. The amount of content available and needed continuously is phenomenal so I think it is easier to get published online, and the demand will only increase. Yes, it is competitive, but everything is.

5. Which travel writers and/or travel books have influenced you?

I read Rolf Pott’s Vagabonding about two years ago. That book gave me the final push I needed to quit my job and pursue my dream of travelling, living abroad, and writing. The book is narrated beautifully, and is full of personal stories and anecdotes from Rolf, as well as from a dozen others who have done the same. Very inspiring indeed.

The other two writers who I enjoy reading, and I’d like to match (one fine day I hope!) is Bill Bryson and Pico Iyer. Bill Bryson has this warm and friendly voice, and a great sense of humour that jumps out of the page. Pico Iyer has this profound style of writing that takes you to another world. His descriptions are fascinating and written in a way I wouldn’t have imagined, yet I can completely relate to.

6. As a writer and traveller, what are the biggest challenges you face on the road?

You have to write a lot. I am currently committed to write about 25 (blog) pieces a week. It’s hard and I don’t always make it, and I hardly make any money. I find myself perpetually at my computer trying to write. It’s a lonely and many a times frustrating profession, so I’m glad I teach English as it gets me out of the house and talking to people. I work on my own time, but that also means that there is no such thing as weekends -- I often feel like everyday is Monday. But when you see your writing out there, and you see people commenting and reacting to it – it makes it all worth it.

Another challenge is keeping up with things. With the Internet, things are moving so fast that it’s easy to be left behind. If I don’t check my 1000 RSS feeds one day, the next day I have way too much catching up to do. This can be overwhelming. But I suppose this refers more to online blogging.

And lastly, it has all got to do with self-discipline. It’s very easy to switch off and say, today I don’t feel like writing so I won’t, and that’s easy to make into a habit when no-one is breathing down your back. Once that happens, it’s a deep black hole you will have to claw yourself out of. You perpetually need to get over your tiredness (that often leads to laziness) and get on with it, many times at the expense of not going out. So yeah, it can be tough.

7. Finally, what is your favourite place and why?
This is the most difficult question to answer! I have loved and enjoyed many a places to be able to pick just one!

One of my super-favourite places is Havana, Cuba – simply because of how different it is from the other places I have visited. The communist regime, rum for breakfast, cigars, waiting in line to get your ration for the day, and dancing son on the streets is all so surreal, yet that’s how they live in Cuba. And, they always have the biggest smiles. I loved it there and would like to go back and spend some more time travelling around the country.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody."

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Travel Writing Conferences, Workshops, and Seminars 2008...

Thinking of going to a travel writing conference, workshop, or seminar next year ? Then check out this partial list of what’s available when…


15 - 17 January - Travel Writing Workshop at Puerto Escondido, Mexico. A hands-on three day travel writing workshop conducted by travel writer Michelle Peterson.

25 - 27 January - SATW Institute for Travel Writing & Photography in Orlando, Florida.

25-27 January - Heritage House 2008 Travel Writing Workshop at Key West, Florida. Led by Robert Haru Fisher, former editor of the Fodor Travel Guides, this workshop is limited to 15 participants.


1-3 February - another Heritage House 2008 Travel Writing Workshop

25 - 28 February - Traveler to Travel Writer: A Writing Workshop at San Miguel, Mexico. Conducted by bestselling travel writer Gina Hyams, this two-day workshop will explore the practicalities of the freelance travel writing process.


14 - 24 April - Writing in Italy with Don George & Book Passage at Albisano, Italy. This 10 day workshop includes directed writing assignments and close critiques by award winning travel writer Don George.

17 -20 April - Travel Classics Europe 2008 Writers Conference at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. A conference that you have to audition for, so to speak, with only 35 qualified writers accepted.


15 - 20 June - Travel, Food & Wine Writing Class at St. Emilion, France. Run by The Writer’s Workshop, this six day intensive travel writing class aims to provide the essential techniques of travel, food, and wine writing.


2 - 20 July - Paris Writing Workshop. Travel writer Rolf Potts is one of the instructors at the Paris Amerian Academy with a workshop focusing on nonfiction storytelling.

24-26 July - The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop at San Francisco, California.


14 - 17 August Book Passages Travel Writers & Photographers Conference at Corte Marda, California features some of the top travel writers .


30 Oct - 2 November another Travel Classics Writer Conference this time in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Have I missed any…

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Give Words for Rice at

I saw this on the local news the other day and thought what a great way of putting technology and people together for an extremely beneficial cause. has two goals...

- Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
- Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is how they go about it... has recreated an interactive vocabulary quiz which shows a word and four possible answers. You clck on an answer and if you're right, the rice bowl on screen fills with rice - for each right answer 10 grams of rice are donated on your behalf through the United Nations to help end world hunger. If you choose a wrong answer, the right answer appears. So you win both ways - by donating and by learning.

The rice is paid for >" the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen. This is regular advertising for these companies, but it is also something more. Through their advertising at FreeRice, these companies support both learning (free vocabulary for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry). We commend these companies for their participation at FreeRice."

I just spent the last few minutes at and donated 1020 grams of rice. Would have been more but some of the words stumped me. But not to worry, I plan on going back again and again to help donate rice and prehaps also improve my vocabulary... has been online since 7 October 2007. The first day only 830 grams of rice were donated. Five days later, the daily rice donation as over 4 million. Yesterday's donation was just shy of 200 million. And the grand total so far... 2,296,622,790 and growing.

Please make an effort to stop by and play for rice...I warn you, it will be addictive.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Interview with a Travel Writer...Christopher P. Baker

Today we talk with award winning travel writer Christopher P. Baker whose publishing credits include Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Islands, and Christian Science Monitor. He is also the author of numerous guidebooks such as Moon Handbook Havana, National Geographic Traveler Costa Rica, and Lonely Planet Jamaica.

Hi Christopher. Thanks for stopping by ‘My Year of Getting Published’ and sharing your experiences in travel writing.

1. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get started in writing?

Yes, I did always want to be a writer. My first travel reports were dispatches from the U.S., published in my local newspaper in Yorkshire, and dispatched during a six-month hitchhiking journey around North America in 1978. During the following two years I also wrote about land issues in Latin America for a London-based political journal, Land & Liberty. I wanted to be a political reporter, and I also always wanted to attend UC Berkeley. In 1980 I got a Scripps-Howard Foundation Scholarship to attend the Graduate School of Journalism, but around the same time I fell in love, quickly got married and decided to find a job. Fortunately I ended up working within the adventure travel industry, quickly realized that I could be paid to write about travel, and the rest, as they say, is history.

2. What do you consider your first "break" as a travel writer?

While employed in marketing for Adventure Center, in California, I was asked to write a report of a travel agent's fam trip to Australia. The report appeared in a travel industry publication, and I received $250. It flicked on the lightbulb for my future career.

3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to break into travel writing?

Mentor successful travel writers.

Attend at least two workshops on travel writing, and read at least two books on how to become a travel writer.

Realize that you need to view this as a business and focus on gaining the marketing knowledge and skills as much as the writing skills.


Learn about the travel industry.

4. What do you see as the future for travel writers in the printed media and online ?

We're in an era of increasing specialization. Traditional markets continue to shrink, and the successful travel writers are those whose specialist expertise is recognized and in demand. Newspapers continue to shrink, as do the stories they buy (if they buy at all). But new and increasingly focused magazines continue to launch, and there will always be a future for magazines. Online continues to offer broadening opportunities for travel writers, but very little of it is creative feature writing.

5. Which travel writers and/or travel books have influenced you?

In the early days Paul Therouxand Graham Greene. Real-life adventure reporting, such as Chris Bonnington's Everest and Geoffrey Moorehouse's The Fearful Void. I've always preferred English travel writers. I can't explain why!

6. As a writer and traveler, what are the biggest challenges you face on the road ?

For the past 15 years, I've specialized in authoring guidebooks, so I'm often working seven days a week for two or even three months at a time researching tropical countries. Keeping going day in day out, staying focused on the task without skipping anywhere is a challenge. And getting back out at night to check out the entertainment scene when my body and sore feet want to rest.

7. Finally, what is your favorite place and why ?

I still love Cuba. It's surreal, it's inspirational, it's entirely unique, and the people are profound and gracious. And India for the way it sets all the senses buzzing.

(Note from Liz: Christopher has written a number of books about Cuba one of which Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba, won the 2002 Lowell Thomas Award as "Travel Book of the Year.”)


Christopher is on the faculty of the annual SATW Institute for Travel Writing and Photography being held from January 25 to 27, 2008 in Orlando, Florida.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quote of the Week...

'If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.'

- Lin Yutang (Chinese Writer, 1895-1976)

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Authors@Google...George Saunders.

George Saunders talks about his new book The Braindead Megaphone, a series of nonfiction essays.


George Saunders: Loose in the Real World

Book Review:

Elements of Style

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Stretch the Brain with the '100 Word Writing Contest'

Gotham Writer's Workshop is holding a '100 Word Writing Contest'. It's an interesting opportunity to stretch your brain and creativity. Here's what you have to do...

"If you're up for a writing challenge that takes both prescience and imagination, enter our What's the Buzz(word)? contest. Create a buzzword that you think might emerge in 2008 and give us a brief definition of the word and a sample sentence using the word. Entries are limited to no more than 100 words for the buzzword, definition, and sample sentence."

The winning entry receives a free 10-week writing workshop.

Deadline for entries is December 30, 2007. You can enter here.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

SATW Institute for Travel Writing & Photography

The annual SATW Institute for Travel Writing and Photography is being held from January 25 to 27, 2008 in Orlando, Florida. This weekend long course is for...

"...writers, travel writers and experienced travelers who want to learn travel writing for articles and guidebooks or who already are travel writers and want to improve their performance. This travel writing course teaches how to prepare article queries and book proposals, how to negotiate contracts, how to work with editors, how to organize your time, how to self-publish your own books, and how to publish your travel writing on the Internet.”

Costs: $345 which covers course material, all meals, breaks, and social events.

Location: The course is being held at the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, a historic inn in downtown Orlando.

Faculty for this course include Christopher P. Baker, Sandra Friend, Bruce Whipperman, and Veronica Gould Stoddart

Sounds like a course for anyone interested in breaking into guidebook writing.

FYI: I have Christopher P. Baker lined up for next week’s ‘Interview with a Travel Writer’.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Blog Facelift...Step One.

It's only a small change.

You might not even have noticed it.

I have learned (finally) how to categorize my posts and I'll be spending the rest of the week on this project (whenever I can find a free minute or two)...

Categories so far:

- Book Reviews
- Interviews
- Press Trips
- Videos
- Weekly Top 5
- Writing Markets

...with more to come.

Hopefully it will make navigation around the site much easier.

As for the Name still working on that. The poll is still running so stop by and vote.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Press Trip Announcement: Arizona Rocks

Mike Finney of AZ Communications Group is looking for

“ writers with assignments for a media tour in northern Arizona. The tour will feature the ARIZONA ROCKS region of Page, Williams, and the Navajo Nation.

Participants fly into Phoenix on Sunday, April 20. Air transportation from major cities to and from Phoenix, transfers in Arizona, meals, attractions and lodging are provided by the hosts of Page, Williams and the Navajo Nation.

If you are interested in participating, please contact us with credentials and story commitments.

Space is limited to 8 only.”

Trip dates: April 21 - 25 2008

Contact Mike at Send in your bio, recent clips, and assignment/placement potential.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Interview with a Travel Writer...Pam Mandel

Today we talk with travel writer Pam Mandel. A dedicated blogger, Pam is travel editor over at BlogHer and writes the highly entertaining Nerd’s Eye View. Her writing can also be found over at Snowshoe Magazine, World Hum,, and Jetsetter Magazine.

Having just finished working on a guidebook for Vancouver BC, Pam has just headed over to Hawaii to collect information for a new guide book she is working on. But if you think being offered a book contract to write a travel guide is all wine and roses, check out Pam’s post ‘Aloha? Oy, or, a Travel Writer’s Angst'

Hi Pam and welcome to ‘My Year of Getting Published’. Thanks for taking time out from your travels to talk with us.

1. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get started in writing?

It was never that intentional. I always wrote postcards and journals while I traveled, and even when I was little I wrote stories. I guess I never thought I'd work as a writer, it was just something I did, but then, it was the 90s and I was in Seattle and it seemed that anyone who could scribble a phrase got a good job doing something with writing. I was hired to write captions for the art history section of a digital encyclopedia (I have an art degree) and that was that, as far as the career shift to writing was concerned.

2. What do you consider your first "break" as a travel writer?

Has it happened yet? I'm only sort of kidding. I think I just got it, I'm currently working on a travel guide to Hawaii, but I got that because the writer they wanted to do the guide had taken another job and I'm the closest to the islands on their contact list - plus, I got a nice word of mouth recommendation. Oh, and I'd just done a fact check for them on another guide, work I didn't really enjoy but was hoping it would lead to more writing work.

I once got paid 750 dollars for a travel story, and that seemed like a huge break, but it didn't lead to continued lucrative assignments. What seems like a "break" is often just a little gig, and maybe it leads to something else and maybe it doesn't. It's a funny market.

3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to break into travel writing?

Write. A lot. All the time. Keep a professional looking blog and do your best writing there - it gives great visibility to your work - if it's good people will find it and read it and who knows what that can lead to.

Don't, don't, don't quit your day job - I haven't quit mine and don't imagine ever doing so.

Don't go in for the money, because wow, is that the fast track to disappointment.

Don't believe the hype about how it's a glamorous free ride.

Don't stay home because you don't have a plum assignment to the exotic destination of your choice.

Write. A lot. All the time. Did I say write?

4. What do you see as the future for travel writers in the printed media and online ?

Print media often feels like this impenetrable fortress to me - I look at the glossy travel mags and think about how much I want a story in there, but truth be told, I do much of my reading about travel online and it's often more appropriate to my travel experience, making all those glossy mags seem more like brochures than anything else.

I love that story telling is in such a public forum, but I do tend to worry that with everyone giving it away, the opportunity for income travel writers collapses to the select connected few.

On the other hand, I like that online media means that authoritative credible voices come from just about anywhere and that I can connect with a travel writer in Australia who can recommend me for gigs out of Great Britain...I also enjoy that the clout that online media is gaining means that providers contact insignificant hacks like myself because they think our opinions matter.

I don't yet see grand possibilities for travel writers to make better bucks, but I do see an increase in real, credible voices when it comes to writing about travel. That doesn't really answer your question, but if I could see the future, I might not get on that next flight!

5. Which travel writers and/or travel books have influenced you?

I recently read Linda Ellerbee's Take Big Bites, I loved that. I enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love too. I've been a long time fan of Paul Theroux, though he aggravates me sometimes with what seems like misogyny, I adore Vikram Seth (though I suppose he's not traditionally a travel writer). I love to hear David Sedaris talk about Paris, and Cormac McCarthy - again, not traditionally a travel writer - has that traveler's sense of moving through unknown spaces. Alice in Wonderland is my favorite travel book, ever, and I'm a huge Gabriel Garcia Marquez fan because I love magic realism - it captures that "did you see that?" aspect of the traveling life.

6. As a writer and traveler, what are the biggest challenges you face on the road ?

I don't have enough time or money to do it all, and oh my, I really really really really want to. Also, I'm a big fan of slow travel and while this makes for great literature style travel writing, for most projects it's not an appropriate approach. You run about trying to absorb as much as possible in as little time as possible because you only have 16 hours in which to capture the zeitgeist of, oh,let's say Vancouver, Canada (I recently did this to shoot photos for a project and it was crazy) and it's frustrating because what I want, more than anything, is to squander the slow part of the afternoon chatting with the very nice staff at the Turkish cafe, asking them about their food and how they ended up in Vancouver from such a far away place. It's also hard to walk away from things that aren't appropriate for an assignment when they're things I personally adore. I was in a tiny place in the Dolomites to write a story about a snowshoe race and there were all these medieval castles nearby. I did not have time to visit them, and I love castles. Instead, I spent time talking with the athletes. They were fun, but oh, the castles... the castles...I still have not seen those damn castles.

7. Finally, what is your favorite place and why ?

The place I'm going next is always my favorite place. It's the undiscovered sense of it, of not knowing entirely what I'm getting into. I love that feeling. It's why I travel.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Time for a facelift...


Not me...

Although sometimes I look in the mirror and think maybe a little nip and tuck here and there wouldn't hurt!!

It's 'My Year of Getting Published' that's in for a facelift and re-do.

I'm going to look at design, structure, updating links, etc.

But the first step is to find a new blog name. A name that reflects this blogs character and mission...which is to provide information, resources, and community for new and established writers, especially those focusing on travel related issues.

I've got a few names floating around my head but I'm just not really sure...

Can you help me out?

Have a look at the names below and tell me what you think...

Vote for your favorite or leave a comment if you think of another more appropriate name for the blog.


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Sunday, November 04, 2007

World Hum Roundtable...Part Two.

Last month I posted about a discussion over at World Hum amongst four successful travel writers - Terry Ward, Catherine Watson, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, and Liz Sinclair -about the pleasures and pitfuls of a woman traveling solo.

Since then, they have added two more posts - (De)Parting Words by Liz Sinclair and Hitting the Road by Catherine Watson - summing up why everyone should try solo travel.

In the words of Catherine Watson "...traveling alone forces you out of your comfort zone. It requires you to talk to people. And—a selfish reason, but a real one—it leaves your mind free. You don’t have to feel guilty or torn because you got interested in some bit of serendipity when you were supposed to meet your traveling companion and had to choose between pulling yourself away—or standing them up. The autonomy of this is amazing."

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Nominations open for 'Top 10 Blogs for Writers'

Michael Stelzner at Writing White Papers is once again seeking nominations for his annual Top 10 Blogs For Writers .

Vote for your favorite writing blog by leaving a comment here. Nominations must be received by Nov. 30, 2007.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

More travel writing opportunities...

Budget Travel magazine turns 10 next year and they are celebrating this anniversary by devoting the entire June 2008 issue to their readers. In other words, the readers will help write the magazine.

Here's how you can participate...

Take the cover photo contest

Submit your dream assignment

These are just a couple of the options that Budget Travel magazine is offering budding travel writers and photographers...

Check out the full details here.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Interview with a Travel Writer...Mark Hodson

This week’s interview is with London-based travel writer Mark Hodson.

A journalist for over 20 years, Mark now freelances for the Sunday Times. Specializing in travel, his articles range from practical travel tips (The Top 10 Travel Websites) to features (A Fairytale Setting in Slovenia).

Mark also runs Travel SEO, a company that provides search engine optimisation strategies for the online travel industry.

Hi Mark and welcome to My Year of Getting Published. Thanks for taking some time to chat with us.

1. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get started in

Towards the end of my philosophy degree I realised I ought to make
some career plans and I thought journalism sounded fun. A
particularly useless careers advisor tried to dissuade me, even
suggesting I might be too "thin skinned". That was really all the
encouragement I needed.

2. What do you consider your first "break" as a travel writer?

I had been in full-time journalism for about five years when I left a
job as a sub-editor to travel the world. I spent three years travelling in the winters and working summers at a newspaper in London. I wrote some travel articles about my experiences in Asia and Latin America. They were quite good for a beginner, but no editor would publish them because I wasn't a "known" writer. Finally, I found a sympathetic editor at The Financial Times in London and once I was published, other editors became interested.

3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to break into travel writing?

Study the publications you want to write for, so you know exactly
what they want, then tailor your proposals and submissions to their
style, content and readership. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Most
editors know what they like - they just want more of the same. And
don't make the mistake of trying to start at the top. Many people
think travel writing is all about the big reads, but editors also
need short pieces, newsy stories and "how to" guides.

4. What do you see as the future for travel writers in print media
and online ?

There will always be a demand for good writers, and good travel
writers, but today it's more important than ever to be nimble and
adapt to the changing media landscape. I think print media is in slow
decline, but it's not dead just yet.

5. Which travel writers and/or travel books have influenced you?

Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer worked for me.

6. As a writer and traveler, what are the biggest challenges you face on the road ?

Guilt. I try to banish all thoughts of my wife at home looking after
our two kids, but sometimes it's hard. (joke!).

7. Finally, what is your favorite place and why ?

India is hard to beat for its full-on sensory impact, but the key to
enjoying any place lies in the attitude of the individual traveller.

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