Since we escaped the rat race in 2012, we have found new ways of generating extra income. As we are no longer working 40 or 60 hours a week on our businesses, we found ourselves with some free time. The decision on what to do with some of my free time (apart from traveling, researching and blogging) was the result of a seed planted by my favorite teacher Mr. Lynch.
He approved of my writing efforts, often reading my essays to the class as examples of how they should be done–much to the embarrassment of the book loving, shy teen that I was. He recognized the storyteller in me, a talent inherited from my Dad, who has the Irish ‘gift of the gab’. Despite my teachers urging I did not go onto to study journalism or English literature, I had other plans.
The idea of becoming a writer has lain dormant for years, until I purchased The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program from American Writers and Artists Inc.(AWAI). I started working through the material and was convinced I had made the right choice, each chapter provides motivation; knowledge and practical assignments to get you writing.
Before I had even finished the first half of the course I had–using the recommendations and templates –secured my first press or comp rate for five magical nights at a unique eco resort in Panama, Isla Palenque. Instead of paying over $2000, we paid only $500 because I had an editor interested in publishing my report. Within days, I had my first article published and even though this was not a paid article, it had enabled us to enjoy five days of pampering, exploring and experiencing a lifestyle normally well out of our budget. I also had my first published “clip” I was a travel writer!
Inspired by my success, I continued studying and using the course material. My second article was another story from our time at Isla Palenque picked up by International Livings Lifetime Communique Society. It was official I was now a paid travel writer!
Buoyed by success I approached Intentional Living Magazines editor, who intrigued by our own story asked for a submission. “Happy Vagabonds” appeared in the November 2012 issue and another paycheck arrived. Since then I have made a few $1,000 in return for a very rewarding and very part time business of writing and submitting articles that editors want to publish.
I never really thought that it could be so easy to enjoy the red carpet treatment that well known travel writers enjoy, but it is and the more I learn and the more I write the better it gets. I recouped my course costs in the first month and have enjoyed complimentary accommodation and romantic starlit dinners on St. Georges Caye with my husband Michael. We have also enjoyed complimentary stays at the Black Orchid in Belize, free scuba diving and turtle watching trips, all in return for writing a story about the experience.
Michaels skill with a camera has been a great asset too, he has sold photographs to accompany the articles to International Living and to Isla Palenque for their own marketing purposes.
There is work involved of course, but you choose how much or how little you do, what better work can there be than sharing the joys of the world’s magical places?
I have also said that someday I would like to write a book. The idea of writing a whole book is daunting! However, as with any big project you have to start somewhere. “How to eat an elephant, one bite at a time” ~ Unknown
Thanks to AWAI and their The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program , I can proudly call myself a writer. I am also somewhat surprised to find, thanks to those first few baby steps, that I am now (along with Michael and the staff at International Living) finishing our first book on house and pet sitting!
The seeds of being a writer planted in me so long ago have sprouted, proving that it is never too late to follow a dream and yes, you can write that book.