As a travel writer or blogger, you share personal experiences of the places you’ve visited with your readers. To write great pieces that get your readers hooked or grow a legion of followers, you must have great writing skills. But what if you’re not confident about your writing skills? This shouldn’t discourage you from doing what you love.
Yet, passion alone is not enough. Most of the best travel bloggers you know didn’t start as excellent writers. You must be deliberate about improving your writing with each blog post you publish. Here are some tips to help you improve your travel writing skills;
Unless you know what good writing is, you can’t be able to improve your writing skills. Spend time reading travel magazines, books, essays, articles and stories about travel. Reading engages your mind while also broadening your perspective and thought process.
By reading, you gather a lot of details about different places. Reading lets you interact with different styles of writing and enrich your writing. Commit to reading travel material regularly. Subscribe to travel magazines and follow up on writings of successful writers you identify with to nurture a reading culture.
Pro Tip: History books and guidebooks are a great resource and a source of inspiration for your writing.
To become a better travel writer, you must write a lot. When you make a habit of writing often, you sharpen your travel writing skills. It doesn’t have to be about a major trip. Think about that trip to the mall, a recent picnic experience or even your last visit to the movie theatre. Now, describe it in the best way possible. Writing consistently trains your writing muscle.
Pro Tip: Make a habit of your writing over time. You’ll be surprised at how much you need to improve on and the mistakes you need to avoid.
Write from Experience
You can’t write passionately about what you haven’t experienced. Experience is what makes your travel writing authentic and interesting. The ability to give a first-hand account of your experience is what sets you apart from writers in other genres.
Avoid the temptation to overly rely on what is written by other travel writers to shape your writing. Instead, focus on providing accurate information as seen through your lens. When you talk about your experiences you can easily establish a voice of your own. Find a unique way to tell about your travel experiences. Think of a path that has been least explored and write your experience about it. Write something new.
Pro Tip: Connect and interact with the locals. There’s so much you can learn from listening than seeing. When writing, share with your readers about these authentic experiences.
Don’t fall for the temptation to include clichés or words you would generally not use because you want to impress. It ruins everything. Aim at capturing your readers’ attention. Infuse your personality into your writing. Convey your experiences in a detailed and natural way. Superfluous writing doesn’t add value. Just because have used clichés doesn’t make it right. Strive to be authentic. Use your senses to paint a picture of the scene you’re describing for the readers.
Pro Tip: Always use simple and vivid language.
Learn from The Best
It doesn’t hurt to seek help for your travel writing from professionals. Editors are a great resource. If anything, writing is a continuous learning process. You can learn from experts who have experience in travel writing. Invite established travel writers to publish guest posts on your blog. This will allow you to understand how to turn your ideas into great pieces that will draw in your audience and keep them glued.
Pro Tip: It’s hard for you to spot your own mistakes as a writer. It’s okay to let an expert editor read your drafts.
Practice Note Taking
Document your experiences. Memories can fade away sooner than you think. In the end, you’ll only remember some facts and the emotional moments you deeply experienced. Notes are a great way of relieving the reality. Taking notes helps you to tell an authentic story because the scenes come alive as you begin to write. You can back it up with a couple of photos of the cuisine, people, places and relationships you formed. All these enrich the story and help you capture more detail.
Pro Tip: Keeping a diary not only helps you to improve your diary but is also a great tool for introspection.
Show; Don’t Tell
Most writers fall into the trap of telling readers about what is happening around, they don’t show. The best way of letting your readers ‘see’ what you’re describing is by using your senses to reconstruct the scene. For instance, you can offer a description of the destination by talking about the ambience, sounds and smell you encountered. This is one of the most powerful ways of bringing your experience to life as your stories will have depth and nuance. It helps create memorable experiences that are captivating for the reader.
Pro Tip: When using your senses to show your readers what is happening let it be as natural as possible.
Read your Draft Loud
Reading your draft aloud gives you a chance to ‘listen’ to your story and self-critique. It also helps you to single out inconsistencies and hear how your writing sounds. Reading aloud offers you the opportunity to weed out redundancies and drop sentences that are hard to read. When you read your draft aloud you can if the flow is right.
Pro Tip: Step away from your draft for a couple of days before reading it aloud so that you read objectively.
Don’t stress about the First Draft
Writing is a process. Don’t stress about writing a perfect first draft. You’ll have the chance to refine your draft before publishing. You should be flexible when writing your first draft so that you hinder your creative juices from flowing. Write as much as you can. You’ll have the time to revisit and edit your draft for grammar and fact-checking.
Pro Tip: Don’t worry about writing too many words, write naturally and then take time to edit.
Learn to Self Edit
There’s nothing so annoying and embarrassing as seeing a glaring typo just after publishing your post. This is not just for you as a writer but your readers as well. Yet this happens because of failure to edit. Always take time to edit. You need to come up with a checklist of grammar rules that you’ll use as a guide when editing. You can also let someone you trust or an editor to read provide feedback because
Pro Tip: Make a point of self-editing your draft for style, clarity, grammar, flow and structure.
Think of a New Angle
The internet is full of travel articles with a storyline that are pretty must the same. You don’t have to follow the same trajectory. As a travel writer, you’re a creative. So, aim at telling your story from a new angle as opposed to focusing on the common facts that have been written about over and over. Think about something that is least talked about despite being interesting. You don’t have to give a chronology of things. It can be boring and many readers will lose interest.
Pro Tip: Think of each travel experience as a blank canvas and think of a structure that is catchy, engaging and informative.
Write in the First Person
Writing in the first person makes your experience conversational and personal. You can also include your conversations with the people you interacted with. Dialogue is a great way of adding colour and excitement to your writing. It is an excellent way of enriching your writing and helping you become better at storytelling. Some experiences may not seem to be great but have the potential of having a dramatic effect when told in the first person.
Pro Tip: Aim to write in simplicity.
Find your Motivation
Writing is not easy. You can sit down for hours to write and end up not doing much. Sometimes, you may experience writers’ block despite the many beautiful memories. It can be difficult to tell how to begin your story or even what to write about from your travel experience. Think about what it that makes you come alive and gets your creative juices flowing. It may be a certain place you prefer sitting or a certain time of the day. Capitalize on it and get writing.
Pro Tip: The motivation to write is not the same for everyone. What works for others will not work for you.
It’s likely you have already come across these tips or are implementing some of them. If you’re not, it’s not too late. Start incorporating these tips into your writing today. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll grow as a travel writer. Take time to learn and nurture your passion. To become a better travel writer, strive to improve your work. Let each new piece be an improvement of your previously published post. Make a deliberate effort to audit your work and tell stories that your readers will love.