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Friday, April 08, 2011

Five Ways to Become a Successful Travel Writer

Today I have a guest post for you from freelance writer and blogger Alexis Bonari. Alexis has some top tips for any aspiring travel writers among you.

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Many writers are drawn to the idea of travel writing, and there is no denying the attraction of visiting a succession of exotic locations and getting paid for it!

Travel writing is a competitive profession, however, and it's important to approach it correctly from the start.

Here are five guidelines every aspiring travel writer should therefore follow to maximize their chances of success.

1. Avoid the major tourist destinations/attractions

If you plan on writing about a major city or attraction, the chances are there are hundreds, if not thousands, of published articles about it already. Because of this, it may be a good idea to venture to more "off-the-beaten-track" destinations, that readers (and editors) may not be so familiar with.

If you're determined to write about a popular destination or attraction, at least ensure the angle of your article is unusual. For instance, if you want to write about the royal wedding in London, don't just write about Westminster Abbey or the color of the Queen's hat. Write about the post-wedding street parties that are being planned, or how you managed to save money by avoiding all those pesky tourist traps.

2. Don't be vague

This should be obvious for any serious writer, but the point cannot be stressed enough. Travel writers need to paint a vivid picture for the reader, so that he or she can visualize exactly what you are describing. Use as much relevant detail as possible, but at the same time be careful not to include useless and unnecessary information, as this could bore your reader to death.

Much of the art of good travel writing lies in choosing the precise, specific detail to bring a scene into sharp focus, and leave the rest to your reader's imagination.

3. Use as much style and wit as possible

You can never get too personal when it comes to writing about travel, especially if the reader is using your story as a reference point in deciding whether or not to travel to a specific city or attraction.

Sometimes the ugliest travel stories are the ones that are the most interesting - so if you got robbed by a gypsy in Hungary or cheated by a street-trader in Barcelona, tell readers about it in your article.

When it comes to travel writing, it's always better to be subjective rather than objective, so keep this in mind before you start your first draft.

4. Make your point loud and clear

Think about the purpose of your article: Is it to persuade the reader to visit a particular city or country? Or is it going to be packed full of tips and advice on what to remember before going on a backpacking trip? These points should be included in both your opening and closing paragraphs, so your reader has a clear understanding of what to expect.

5. Take lots of pictures

Because travel-related stories tend to be more visual than other types of writing, try to include as many pictures as you can with the article. Your pictures should be visually appealing and ready to publish, so purchase a good quality camera before you start your trip (if you don't have one already). If you are travelling alone, it may be a good idea to purchase a camera with an auto timer. And remember the one golden rule of photography: Get in close and fill the frame!

Good luck, and enjoy your travel writing.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she's been researching scholarships for engineering students as well as scholarships for nursing grad students. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time, she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.

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Thank you to Alexis for some great tips. If travel writing floats your boat, you might like to check out Travel Writing Secrets from my sponsors, The WCCL Network. It's a complete guide to setting yourself up as a professional travel writer. Click on the banner below for more info.

Photo Credit: Lesvos Sunset by Nick Daws.

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