Are you an aspiring travel writer?
Have you wanted to write for a living for as long as you can remember? Perhaps you’ve started a travel blog (or you keep meaning to), but need a little help getting it off the ground….
Travelex are looking for the next great travel writer.
Travelex has teamed up with Penguin to launch an exciting competition in their search for the best new writing talent. You can find details on how to enter and win a possible £1,500 and a one-on-one session with a Penguin editor at the end of this post.
Do you want to write, but worry that you’re just not good enough?
If the answer to this is yes, then you are not alone. I know that feeling well – read on.
My travel writing story
Since I was about ten, when I was given my first camera, I’ve been obsessed with photography. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties, however, that I first thought about writing articles to go with my images. But I doubted that I would ever be good enough. I well remember how awful my first few attempts were.
As a young girl, I had found reading and writing very difficult. By the time I was ten years old, I was many years behind my peers. I remember getting a big fat zero in spelling test after spelling test, time and time again. A teacher told my parents that I’d never get any ‘O’ Levels.
In secondary school, when my headmaster looked at my work and exclaimed in a booming voice, “No one’s spelling is that bad!” I well remember bursting into tears.
I struggled on and was shocked when I did well in my ‘O’ Levels. I went on to study ‘A’ Levels and worked hard to get into Bristol University to study Zoology and Psychology. I still couldn’t spell, and I found university a challenge, but I passed (just) with an Honours Degree.
In my first job, I had to write the occasional letter and they always sounded so childish. I was sent on letter writing courses but they didn’t help.
Many years later, I wanted to write an article for a local magazine about a charity concert I was organising. Getting an article published would be a wonderful advertisement for the gig. So I set pen to paper again (tip: avoid overused cliches).
Luckily my friend Sara was staying with me at the time, and she is an excellent writer. Her encouragement and tips steered me in the right direction. Somewhere along the line the penny dropped. I began to understand how one sentence or even a paragraph could lead into the next, taking the reader along with them. I could see how groups of three words or phrases sounded pleasing together (while groups of two or four sounded awkward in comparison). Noticing jarring repetition in my writing was also a huge step forward. Getting to grips with basic tips like these can greatly improve your writing style.
My first article was published
Looking at it now, my first article wasn’t brilliant, but I had caught the writing bug and soon after that, I started blogging.
Some people are naturally gifted at writing, while others find it harder. Practice certainly helps and constructive criticism is a godsend. Writing about something you know well and are passionate about may be the key to unlocking your potential.
Either way, if you want to write, then write. Start for your own pleasure and who knows where it may take you. I started my blog for fun and it’s taken me around the world.
Kathryn Burrington, BSc Hons, LRPS,
British Guild of Travel Writers,
Professional Travel Bloggers Association,
AITO Responsible Tourism Award winner 2008
(No ‘O’ Levels indeed! I showed them)
Are you the next great travel writer?
How to enter the Travelex travel writing competition
A travel experience unlike any other
Write a short story (up to 1,000 words) inspired by this theme and you could win £1,500. You’ll need to be quick. Entries close at 11:59 pm (GMT) on 5th February 2017.
You can find the full competition details including how to enter here.