My success in writing – specifically freelance travel writing – happened very slowly, and it took a lot of perseverance to get there. I’ve loved travel and writing all my life, and by the time I was in my late 20’s I’d traveled extensively in Europe. By 2009 I was living in Washington, DC and had decided it was time for a change in life, so I packed my worldly belongings into my little car and drove west to Seattle. I worked for a nonprofit for about a year, and then decided to focus on my writing career.
It would normally take weeks to get a reply when querying a magazine editor, and often the answer was “no thanks, we’ve already covered it.” But a few editors did respond, and I was able to seal the deal. A couple months after I started querying seriously, I received a commission by a nationally distributed publication to write a story on beautiful Alsace, France. The pay was excellent and so was the exposure. I was off and running.
Other editors eventually gave me a chance, and I slowly built up a list of credits in magazines and high-traffic blogs including Aviation History Magazine, Writer Abroad, World War II Magazine, Compass Travel, Military Magazine, Global Aviator, InTravel, Renaissance, Chicago Music Guide, Backpacker and Travel Post Monthly among others. I’m a regular blogger for the travel blog vagablogging. I’ll be visiting Europe in October on assignment for two different magazines, and have just signed on to blog for Psychology Today Magazine (I have an MA in psychology and practice in Seattle).
Along the way I also wrote and self-published two full-length novels, both adventure/thrillers set in exotic European locales.
Here’s the deal: There are lots of good writers, and some have traveled much further than I have. But the point is to have perseverance. If you’re turned down, try harder next time. If you want to distinguish yourself from everyone else, you have to try harder than everyone else. Go get em!
James Ullrich is a freelance travel writer, editor, and author. Information on his articles, novels, and contact info can be found on his website at http://www.jamesullrichbooks.com.