Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tips for travel writing - when you can't travel

It has been a while since I've sat down to post a new entry. In fact, it's been just over a year.

The reason? Very simple. I've been consumed with health issues the past year.

 Just before my last post, August 15, 2012, doctors discovered my aortic valve was shrinking and causing all kinds of issues. I was born with a bicuspid valve disorder, so I knew this was coming for the past eight years. 

After looking at the results of an echo cardiogram, I needed to have surgery, ASAP. It was scheduled for September, then postponed and performed in November.

Luckily, my angiogram showed my arteries to be completely clear, so I only had to deal with the genetic issue.

At that time, however, I was also dealing with a detached anterior shoulder labrum. Very painful, and it prevented me from paddling - which a lot of my stories focus on. It even made handling my parrots painful and difficult, at times.

I had surgery for that in mid-June.

Because of all these issues, I have been unable to travel much for the past year. It has also limited the amount of time I have been able to devote to writing.

That does not mean I have not been able to continue writing about travel, however, albeit in a limited fashion. 

Paddling the Harrison River, B.C.
So how does a travel writer continue to write when he or she can't travel?

Well, there are many ways, including:

1. If you are mobile enough, but just cannot fly anywhere due to health reasons, you can always become a "tourist in your own town." Visit local sights, parks, museums, events, and write about them.

2. Find "business" type stories that focus on travel that you can blog about, or better still, pitch to a paying magazine or other publication.

3. Review travel books. There are tons of them out there, and plenty of places to review them. Literary travel books are probably your best bet. Since we're assuming you cannot travel, reviewing a guidebook of a foreign destination won't be very easy to do. However, you could review guidebooks specific to your area.

4. Re-work old stories. If you went to, say, Vietnam two years ago and published three stories based on your experiences, dig back through your notes or journal, and find additional new angles, new topics you have not written about, before. Then pitch them or blog about them.

These four ideas are just scratching the surface. There are probably many more, if you just sit down and spend a bit of time thinking.

Although travelling is one of the best aspects about being a travel writer, you don't have to stop in the event that your health or other issues conspire to keep you close to home.

Just keep on writin'....

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