Travel writing: how to do it

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about travel writing…

I love to travel (our trip to Newfoundland last summer and our trip to Italy the summer before have been two highlights of my life). But I don’t like writing about travel. I have never aspired to be a travel writer, even for the often tempting lure of free flights and no-charge accommodation.

Still, for some people, travel writing is a deeply held desire. If you fall into that camp, I strongly suggest you read a blog post titled “5 Powerful Tips to Write Travel Stories Only You Can Tell.” Here is one of those tips from author Jillian Schedneck:

Don’t try to write about everything that happened during your summer in Sri Lanka or even your week in Hanoi. Choose a very small story instead.

I love this advice because newbie writers frequently make the mistake of going too big. They fear that the interesting anecdote or the intriguing story is too small and too specific for their readership. Nothing could be further from the truth. Particularity is everything when it comes to interesting writing.

Schedneck, who is also author of Abu Dhabi Days, Dubai Nights, describes small three stories she tells in her book:

  • A student who told her a secret
  • The day she yelled at her all-male class
  • The time she visited the Gold Souk with her boyfriend, and he bought her a fake engagement ring

Small stories like these ones are interesting and engaging to readers and give your writing a sense of truthfulness and specificity.

(My husband took the photo at the top of this post, in Newfoundland. He doesn’t do photography for a living; as a result, he finds it relaxing and fun to take photos while on holiday. That’s a totally different story.)