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How to Become a Successful Travel Writer

How to Become a Successful Travel Writer

You love to travel and explore new places, but you hate when the trip ends. You can write about your experiences and relive them while sharing the excitement with others! Read these ten tips on how to become a successful travel writer.

1. Travel Purposefully.

If you want to write about your travels, you can’t just relax and ignore your surroundings. Travel purposefully. Enjoy every moment of your trip. Take it all in – you can still enjoy yourself, but notice things! Make notes at night of what you saw and how it made you feel. Write as vividly as you can, so when you re-read your notes later, you can remember more. This will help you write engaging articles for your readers.

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2. Read.

Travel writing is a major genre! Look up travel writers and read their books. Find columns online. Read travel blogs. See what is working and what might be your style. The more you read, the better your writing will be!

3. Write.

Sit down and write. Refer to the notes you made while you were on your trip. It might seem intimidating at first, but sit down and write a first draft. It can be bad; no one has to see it! The more you practice, meaning the more pieces you write, the better your writing will get. Most travel writers have a background in English or journalism, but even if you don’t, practice will make you better.

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    4. Find Your Genre.

    You’ve read a variety of travel books and blogs, and you’ve written your first draft. What do you think your genre is? Are your pieces humorous? Do you focus on the setting, using descriptive words to paint a picture? Do you explain the attractions you saw, or how you set up your accommodations? You can be a serious travel writer, writing pieces for blogs that help people plan their own travel adventures. Or you could write about your experiences in a way that people enjoy reading. Explore what you enjoy reading and writing most, and then pick your genre. Having a specific niche will help you while you’re submitting.

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    5. Revise. Harshly.

    You have a first draft, which is a good starting point, but you’re far from done. Take some time away, then read over your work. You’ve taken a bit of time away from the writing, so you’re looking at it with semi-fresh eyes. Are there typos? Can you re-word some of the sentences to make the piece flow better? Did you think of some details to add to round out your writing? Don’t be easy on yourself – you might have to re-write the whole thing! It doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer; in fact, it’s the opposite! You realize that your writing needs work, and you’re able to fix it! There will be a point where you have to stop revising in order to move on with your work, but make sure it’s as polished as it can be.

    6. Share Your Work.

    It’s hard to criticize your own work sometimes because you’re so close to it. Your story is your baby, and you feel protective over your writing. You’ve written a draft, you’ve revised it and polished it until it shines. Now it’s time to share! It might be scary to let people read your personal thoughts, but let some trusted family members or friends read your piece. Listen to their comments and edit your piece accordingly. These people represent your readers, and if they say something isn’t clear, or want more details about a certain attraction, you definitely want to add it in.

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    7. Develop an Online Presence.

    You’ve been writing and you’ve gotten feedback and you’ve made some edits. You’re ready to put yourself out there! Develop an online presence so people can find you and read your work. Do you want to keep a blog? Start one! They’re easy and fun – but be careful posting pieces you want to submit to magazines or journals. Some have rules about submitting things that have been previously published, even if it’s just an online blog. Make profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and more. Be easy to find, but make sure your profile is professional. Engage with other travel writers on these sites – they’ll more than likely be your readers and cheerleaders! Be friendly and approachable and you’ll help grow your audience.

    8. Submit Your Piece.

    Research journals and magazines you’d want to be published in. Look up their submission guidelines and follow them carefully – some mistakes might get your piece thrown out of the running before it even gets to an editor!

    9. Accept Rejections.

    You might not get published the first time. Or the second. Or the third… You can look up now-famous writers and see how many rejections they got at the start. Don’t let it get you down. Did the editor give you notes? If so, make those changes. Did they encourage you to re-submit, or submit different pieces later? Use rejections to push yourself to work harder.

    10. Don’t Give Up!

    You’re not going to become a success overnight. Don’t give up! Keep writing, revising, sharing, and submitting. Tune in to your social network of friends and fellow writers and find support and tips there. The harder you work, the better you’re going to get. Work for it, and you’ll feel content with how your travel writing career is progressing.

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    Last Updated on April 9, 2020

    5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

    5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

    It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

    The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

    With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.

    5 Types of Leadership Styles

    I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

    The Democratic Style

    The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

    The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

      The Autocratic Style

      The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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      The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

      While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

        The Transformational Style

        Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

        Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

        Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

          The Transactional Style

          Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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          The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

          The Laissez-Faire Style

          The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

          In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

          Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

          You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

          Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

          The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

          Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

          I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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          In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

          What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

          Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

          1. Context Matters

          Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

          2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

          When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

          As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

          “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

          The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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          As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

          When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

          The Way Forward

          To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

          As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

          “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

          The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

          If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

          Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

          Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

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          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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