Get cooperative, not competitive
This chapter brings up one of my favorite maxims about the travel writing world (and life in general, for that matter): cooperation works better than competition.
There’s no need to feel jealous of another writer’s talents or defensive about an editor’s rejection. Honestly, there’s enough market share out there for all of us, and the more we cooperate/help each other out, the sooner we’ll get ours.
Anyone agree/disagree with this outlook?
Good point Hal. Often I’ll read something great and question myself. Do I really have what it takes? Can I write something like that? But then i realize it’s a process and working with others, getting ideas and feedback, will hopefully get me where I want to be.
The only aspect of travel writing as a career that occasionally gets me down is the back-biting that occurs sometimes. I’m a big advocate of the idea that there’s enough–of whatever–for everyone to go around. I’m also a big fan of sharing resources, contacts, and leads, not keeping them close to my chest like cards in a poker game. I love collaborating on articles, offering feedback, brainstorming together.
The opposite mindset is an eventual career killer.
Word. Positivity all the way.
Keeping great relationships with editors is key even if you never get a single assignment from them. Sometimes, they like that break in their day to brainstorm with you and just chat.
One thing I’ve also realized early on is I can’t try to write, mimic, or flow like someone else.
I can only be myself.
And there are many markets for many different styles of travel writing. Narrative Essays. Guidebooks. Service pieces. Destinations.
Sharing contacts is important too. I usually offer them up if asked. What goes around usually comes around.
“One thing I’ve also realized early on is I can’t try to write, mimic, or flow like someone else.” And that, Lola, is the perfect point. Our successes come from our own voice.
I almost feel like competition is part of the “old paradigm” and cooperation is part of the “new.” As a human race, we are teetering in-between the two, so it’s natural to feel jealous at times, and yet understand that working together gets each of us further on an individual basis. I feel very lucky to be working with a group of people that are more invested in the new paradigm.
A deep belief that there is more than enough to go around is essential, but subscribing to the “Secret” is not.
I actually thought as relative newbies to travel writing the MatadorU students could help cross promote each other, and technically we should all gain similar popularity once it comes our way. Even something as simple as a blogroll or links page to each other on our own blogs will work wonders for SEO things as we all progress and develop.
I’ve loved reading this thread and couldn’t agree more.
I’ve just begun my foray into the travel writing realm, but I have a lot of background in seeing competitiveness, coming from the classical music world.
The key is definitely postivity. Being yourself. Cooperation. One of my favorite bloggers, Christine Kane, has the mantra SWSWSWSW: “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Someone’s waiting”. It totally applies: Some editors and readers will, some won’t. So what? Someone’s out there waiting for your particular story/idea/article…
@Adventure Rob: I think the blogroll is a great idea and have just started one on my blog, http://nancythegnomette.com. I’ve wanted to put other students and Matador members on there, so I’m glad you thought this would be good practice!
SWSWSWSW: “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Someone’s waiting”
@pinkmacca – I love this! And so true.
One of the things that I have learned over the past few years is that, of all the various writing niches, it seems like the travel writing niche is the MOST supportive – everyone I’ve met or communicated with has been positive, encouraging, helpful, and just downright NICE to each other!
One of the best (and easiest) ways to support each other is through the use of guest blogging…. I don’t want to sound like I’m just promoting my own stuff here, but I did write a post that has some tips on it about guest blogging for both the writer and hosting blog site if anyone is NEW to guest blogging: http://www.travel-writers-exchange.com/2009/08/need-readers-for-your-travel-blog-be-a-guest-author/ It’s a good way to cross-promote your travel blogs and get both links and traffic to each other.
@AdventureRob – I LOVE your idea of using blogrolls to help promote each other – I’ll try to comb through the forum and start collecting everyone’s site links to add to my own blogrolls …… I am absolutely 100% in favor of helping to promote everyone here!