Don’t be afraid to go down that nameless cobbled street to see where it leads or ask the weary Greek shopkeeper why he’s looking so tired.
2. Be persistent.
If you want to get published, you’ll need to keep trying different editors before you strike it lucky.
3. Take notes.
Always travel with a notebook and make notes in situ, not forgetting to jot down conversations you hear.
4. Dig deeper.
Travelling has become so easy these days that it’s hard to find a unique angle – let alone an undiscovered location to write about. It isn’t enough to visit the Amazon or New York. You need to tease out something new, different, smart or funny.
5. Find a hook for your story.
Travel writing works the same as feature journalism. You need to find a good hook to hang your story on. A festival, an anniversary, a new resort.
6. Write to deadline.
Editors are busy people. Make their job easier by writing to their brief, filing your stories on time and to the right word length.
7. Learn the craft of storytelling.
People often think that if they’ve experienced an amazing journey, that equals an amazing story. A diary or travelogue – ‘and then I did this and then I did that’ – doesn’t make a piece of travel writing. You need to learn how to use storytelling techniques and transform your journey into a narrative experience.
8. Seize the opportunities of technology.
Smart phones mean you can take photos or video anywhere (and don’t need a large SLR camera in your backpack). Social media allows you to post location-specific pictures, footage and words from remote corners of the globe. Many writers have blogs and some of the canny ones make enough money to travel from monetising their blogs.
9. Connect with other travel writers.
There’s a virtual network of travel writers who you can connect with via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Make the most of this supportive community.
But remember… social media can take you away from being in the moment. When travelling, remember you’re there to experience another culture and country, not just to think about your next post or selfie.
Learn more with Claire Scobie at Travel Writing in the 21st Century:
Saturday 18 October, 10am-4pm