I always open my Travel Writing Workshop with this first rule of travel writing (although I ignored it myself). While it is possible to make money writing travel articles for magazines and websites, it is unlikely – but certainly not impossible – that you’ll earn a decent living. But you can at least subsidise your travel costs (or maybe even get some free trips) while indulging in your love of writing.
Before you start, however, you’ll need to be honest with yourself and determine your motivation. Are you just writing for yourself, family and friends? Do you really want to be published and read by the public? Or are you more driven by the desire to make money? Your answers will determine the level of commitment you will require to become and remain a travel writer.
An increasingly popular alternative is to create a travel blog through a specific website, such as http://www.travelpod.com. This allows you to write what you want when you want with no editorial interference. In this way, your thoughts and experiences can be read quickly across the globe, but, of course, your chances of making any money are extremely remote.
To earn an income, you’ll almost certainly need to publish articles through recognised travel magazines, newspapers and websites. But the good news is that writers are always still needed to write these articles, as well as guidebooks, for the incredibly escalating travel industry. There are pitfalls and potholes to avoid, of course, about pitching editors, retaining copyright, negotiating fees, sending photos, and so on … and so on.
But perhaps you may want to also think a little outside the box, as I have: eg publish your own guidebook for a place or readership not currently covered; write a movie script or novel based in an exotic country; or get out your still- or video-camera and create something different.
C’mon along and learn about all of this – and so much more – at the Travel Writing Workshop at the SA Writers’ Centre on Saturday, January 18 2014.
Paul Greenway wrote and co-wrote 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, as well as numerous travel articles for magazines, newspapers and websites across Australia and Asia. More recently, he wrote Tuttle Travel Pack: Bali & Lombok, and is currently writing and providing photos for Journey Through Bali, both published by Periplus (Singapore). In late 2013, his first novel, Bali & Oates, set almost entirely in Bali and the first of a trilogy set in SE Asia, was published. Paul can be contacted through his website: www.paulgreenway.net