As I continue working towards my ultimate goal of moving Down Under and serving as a missionary there, I have to make a living to pay my bills in the present. For that, I work as a remote full-time copywriter, and doing other freelance writing jobs.
For many years, I’ve thought about getting into travel writing. I travel internationally most years, and travel to domestic destinations where tourists go, plus, I live in one of those travel destinations: Chicago.
This year, I’m going to try my hand at a new method of True Budget Travel: having writing assignments for my destinations and hometown to help pay my way and my bills.
I’m not going to turn this blog into a “how to travel write” site. There are already hundreds of these around. If you’re looking for good ones, try these sites and the lists they’ve recommended.
What and How I’m Doing It
Since this is one of the things I’m doing to travel more cheaply, I’ll give you a few clues on what I’m doing, and will update along the way as I have more successes, though I won’t devote this blog to the topic of travel writing.
1. Organizing My Thoughts
First, I’ve gathered together these various publications I’m interested in writing for, both big paid opportunities and smaller opportunities. I’ve created a spreadsheet with every possible publication that I’ve come across and started writing down possible pitches to submit to them over the next year.
2. Creating My Ideas
Next, I’m actually creating my pitch list. What have I seen in Chicago that would make a great travel story? What experiences have I had in the past that would be great for a nostalgia story, feature, or other kind of travelogue-esque piece? What trips do I have coming up, and what stories could I pitch from those plans?
3. Laying Out My Plans
Thirdly, I’ve created a pitching calendar. My goal is the equivalent of 1 pitch per day this year. Some days or weeks, this is more like 10 pitches a day, depending on my paid work schedule needing to be relieved a bit.
I’ve created a spreadsheet that has the date, the publication, the pitch idea, and the statistics for the pitch laid out in a clear, color-coded fashion.
4. Crafting the Pitches
A pitch a day sounds like a lot, but as I’ve been doing it this year, it’s turned out to be not that much work at all. Since I’ve got my calendar laid out, it’s easy. I just review the publication for the day for about 10 to 15 minutes – more time if I’m unfamiliar with the publication – and then take something from my “ideas list” to craft a two to four paragraph pitch that I submit to the editor.
I’ve also spent a good bit of time studying the craft of pitching leading up to these pitches. One of the great articles I’ve read is on how to Think Like an Editor from Norie Quintos.