Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Improve Travel Writing Skills

Traveling to experience new scenery and cultures always gets my blood boiling. I want to dash - nay, have to dash - and find a way to put this new experience into words, so others can also enjoy it. Then, I hammer out a rough draft and come back to it a few days later merely to be underwhelmed. Not only does it not feel like seeing the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok for the first time, it's sentimental and (cough, cough) boring. All travel writers know this feeling. Yet, that's part of the charm and challenge of this literary genre. If you're looking to get over such a writing hump, consider the following tips.

Read More Widely – Read everything you get your hands on, including travel essays, memoirs, and anthologies like The Best American Travel Writing. There are an infinite number of ways to skin a cat, so reading other writers’ approaches can reaffirm your path and give you new ideas.

Hone Your Craft – Many writers grumble that writing can’t be taught when someone suggests a book to improve craft. Yes, it can. Do you think visual artists pick up a paintbrush and go to town their first day? Nope, they begin with brush strokes and composition. General craft improvement guidebooks like The Art of Creative Nonfiction are good places to start.

Write Every Day – Whether it’s a rambling free write, detailed journal account, or blog post, write at least a little every day. Writing daily has a way of keeping your creative veins open, so that you can access the moment of inspiration when it comes.

Go to School – A writing workshop can give you a new perspective on your art plus the chance to practice reading and commenting on others’ drafts. Many universities offer online writing courses and degree programs.

Leslie Branch is a writer at Blog Services. Her work is featured on many websites.

1 comment: