1. How did you get started as a writer?
I got started as a blogger, first on a personal blog and then on my more popular travel blog / podcast Amateur Traveler. I actually started as a podcaster and have been learning writing over the 7+ years that I have run the site. I have taken writing classes like at the Book Passage travel writing conference along the way and have used that to improve my ability to edit as well as write a better story.
2. What type of writing do you love most?
If the truth be told writing does not come easy for me. Not the act of actually putting words on the page but the act of sitting down to write. There have been many times that I have cleaned my office to avoid starting writing a piece. So finishing is probably the number one thing I enjoy most about writing. The second most enjoyable is when you look at something you wrote and say “yes, that really conveys what I wanted to say”.
3. List three tips/pieces of advice you would give to new freelance writers.
a) The first one I would steal from my friend Spud Hilton who is the travel editor for the San Francisco Chronicle and that is “marry rich”. Writing is not usually the road to riches.
b) Save every idea. Email yourself ideas, leave yourself voice messages, carry a notebook, but whatever you do, don’t let a good story idea get away.
c) No one will every tell you that I loved how general and vague you were in that article, yet more than half of the stories that are submitted to the Amateur Traveler read just that way. Don’t put 3 paragraphs before your point saying vague things like “travel is good”. Re-read your work and cut out every thing that does not support your point. This is not high school english where you pad your piece to get to that magic number of words. They had to pay your teacher to read that crap.