Last year was a big writing year for me. An awfully disorganized one, but a big one nonetheless.
I continued writing for Gridskipper; did a short stint at globorati; and began writing here, for Vagablogging, for Gadling, for European Vibe and for Map Magazine. Other than European Vibe, for which I’ve written numerous travel-sections (of places I have never been too, god forgive me), all my other writing has been blog posts. I have been writing between 20-25 pieces a week, on average 300-400 words a piece.
What has this taught me?
– To discipline myself into writing everyday: When you have promised a certain amount of writing, you have no choice but to make it happen. Unfortunately though, my personal blog has suffered because of this.
– It is hard to work from home: Drawing that line between working and not, becomes difficult. Distractions are numerous and too easy to fall trap to. Nobody is breathing down your back, but you could be sitting at your computer reading The Superficial all day. Since you don’t have a 9-5 job, and dictate your working terms, you often get torn between wanting to take time off but feeling guilty doing it.
– The importance of being able to articulate your thoughts well, with substance and quickly: Being able to structure and back-up your thoughts clearly and rapidly is much harder than you imagine.
– It’s hard to write for a large reader base: Gadling has a hit rate of over 100’s of thousands everyday. The audience is very well-read, well-traveled, intelligent and opinionated. They will rip you apart if you don’t express yourself clearly, concisely and meaningfully. Although I appreciate constructive criticism, I tend to be quite sensitive. Writing for such widely read websites exposes you to judgment that, fair or unfair, can quite easily damage your self-confidence. I often have to remind myself that it is easy for people to sit on the other end and criticize, but it’s tough nonetheless. I’m still battling with this and have begun developing thick skin.
– You can make money writing / blogging on line: You just need to be focused, establish a niche, know your readers and supply them with high-quality, resourceful content. Check out Problogger.
– Writing in quantities reduces quality: Writing for numerous blogs, numerous times a day can leave you saturated and burnt out faster than you would have imagined.Your writing will reflect that.
– Goals: You have to have solid, short-term (daily/monthly) and long-term writing goals or, although you may get things done, it’s hard to keep in focus the bigger picture — where do you want to go with all of this? Earlier this year, I had the privilege of meeting Liz from Write-to-Travel blog who knows how to set timely, realistic goals and see them through. Check out her aims for 2008.
I, on the other hand, am dreading sitting down and thinking about my writing goals for this year. “I don’t have time today, I’ll do it tomorrow” has been my lame excuse. It’s like — I’ve been disorganized, but things have happened for me — do I really need a “vision”? YES, I DO. Hopefully in the next few days I will have some clarity on the way forward for me this year.
Do you guys have your travel-writing goals clear for 2008? Do write in to tell me, it’s inspiring and I’d love to know.