© Roy A. Barnes - All Rights Reserved
An old saying goes "People don’t plan to fail, they fail to
plan". Not being prepared is one of the biggest detriments to fulfilling one’s dreams.
For me, the dream of being a published travel writer took many
years of preparation. When I was a youngster of about four years old, I found myself fascinated with the road
atlases in my house. I would draw the outlines of states over and over until I got them just right. When
school wasn’t in session, I would often accompany my father on the road in his semi-truck.
Still, many years passed before my dream to be a paid travel
writer would be realized. That, and a lot of travel-related jobs, trekking overseas, plus the willingness to
finally take the leap of faith that my writings could make money.
We all have taken different roads in life, but here are some
preparedness tips that are applicable to all aspiring travel writers:
--BE PREPARED to sift a number of your personal experiences and
hobbies as fodder for travel-related articles. Draw on work pursuits. If you travel for business, or do
volunteer work away from home, your experiences and lessons learned are ingredients for a number of travel
articles. My first sale as a writer came about because of my volunteer work in Spain. If you are just
visiting the in-laws in a town you’ve been to a million times, a future travel article awaits because every
venue has a story.
Explore its facets, thinking of the activity as a respite from
the relatives, especially if they are driving you bonkers!
When reading a book, realize that settings for them and the
hangouts of authors’ past are places people like to visit. For night-lifers, think of the hot after hours
night spots in your area or another city that could be made into a sellable article. For those of you who are
passionate about food, relate that with a travel experience because the culinary and travel connection is a
constant theme in publications.
--BE PREPARED to follow up on subject matter which tugs at your
curiosity or your heartstrings, especially if it’s not gotten a lot of coverage. Such subjects can capture
the interest of at least one editor. I had become fascinated about odd airport codes like ORD for Chicago,
MCO for Orlando, and MSY for New Orleans. I followed up with research and found many great stories for the
strange ones. After a lot of rejections, I found an editor who really liked the article and published it.
Since then, that article has been re-sold multiple times all because I acted upon my
--When you get a rejection notice, BE PREPARED to honestly
re-visit your work and see how you can improve it. Seek out other writers in writing groups for their input
if you aren’t getting anywhere or want feeback before you submit the work initially. Others can see things in
your writing that you may be blinded to. Find other markets to submit to so you are taking positive action;
that is, rebutting a negative happening with proactive steps.
--If you really believe in your writing, BE PREPARED to stay
the course. I understand that The Chicken Soup For The Soul creators were rejected by scores of publishers,
but kept on submitting. As a result, tens of millions of Chicken Soup books have been sold due to the
--If you’ve only got published clips from non-travel themed
publications, but are submitting a query or a finished work to a travel editor, BE PREPARED to show your
non-travel-related work (even unpublished works if you don’t have any published clips) via an online link,
PDF format, or photocopy because editors will see what scope you write from. They may even want to use your
article(s) as a reprint or it could spark editorial ideas about a future travel article tie-in with the
subject matter you’ve already written about.
This happened to me, but it was the opposite
Still, my point will be illustrated: I had written an article
about how I came to own my cat, and sent it to an editor of a regional publication in Canada. He didn’t like
it, but one of my published clips about a South African experience of mine caught his fancy, so he offered to
reprint it. I never imagined the editor would’ve even considered that travel essay for his publication after
reading his medium. By showing this editor the spectrum of my published works, I fatefully snatched an
acceptance out of the jaws of rejection!
--BE PREPARED to set up your first and best clippings in PDF
format. Many online sites don’t archive content forever. And if a site happens to fold up, then you are out
of luck, too, if you haven’t PDF-formatted your works. PDF articles have a professional look to them, and are
easy to format. Go to www.pdfonline.com and www.cutepdf.com for more information on getting your articles formatted for
--BE PREPARED to sell your articles again after they've been
published if and when you have the rights to resale your work. You may have to rework them, but given that
many publications buy reprints, this means the potential for more money. Any extra tweaking/updating will
help you to improve your writing skills. The value of a good piece of writing is that it can keep on touching
the lives of readers.
Crafted words are the literal gift that keeps on
I’m still paying my dues and learning the travel writing trade.
The most important thing in pursuing any dream is to decide to “just do it” and to be persistent, because
anything of value in life will test you. How PREPARED are you to deal with those tests???
About the Author: Roy A. Barnes is a
life-long Wyoming USA resident and a past contributor to Writer2Writer. Besides travel articles, he’s
crafted writing-themed and literary works for such publications like The InkSpotter News, Writing for DOLLARS,
The Fabulist Flash, e-clips, Poesia, Literary Liftoff, and Breath & Shadow. You can read his
travel-themed works at such sites like Transitions Abroad, GoNOMAD.com, Literary Traveler, and Live Life