Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Adventures in Freelance Writing

 

Freelance Travel Writing Tips

This makes it worth it. Kind of.

So…we meet again, home office.

I’ve come back to freelance writing and travel writing after finishing up my long-term contract in a mega corporation. I know a lot of very talented writers and bloggers who long to do the same thing. I don’t know if it’s the right choice for you, but I think it’s right for me. For now. 

This blog could document my downward spiral from very gainfully employed writer to That Peddler in the Parking Lot Who Writes The Best Cardboard Signs. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way.

Freelance writing tips:

Very little time will be spent writing. Most of it will be spent checking email and refreshing it again and again to see if those query letters and job applications you sent out got a response. Nope. Just another email newsletter advertising Socktober Fest. All those socks. All on sale…

You need to know… math. Oh yeah, we writers think we’re all cute and funny and stuff when we can’t calculate tips or do taxes because we’re “word nerds.” But as a freelancer, you need to know some basic business calculations figure out if you’re making more or less than you would if you collected cans for a living. This is an essential skill.

That’s why writers make such miserable salaries. The Man thinks we can’t do math.

Your new exercise = pacing. The last time I worked as a freelancer I lost about 10 pounds in a matter of weeks. Friends asked why I looked so svelte. It wasn’t a change in my dietary habits—certainly, I inhaled a few less donuts. But my magical weight loss was due to my pacing around the room whenever I faced a looming deadline.

You will need to improve your social skills. I have the social graces of a T-Rex. I am clumsy, loud, and thanks to Invisilign, might spit when I talk.

Days go by where I don’t see humans. So when I meet a prospective client for lunch, I have to remind myself that she’s not my therapist and now is probably not an appropriate time to talk about last night’s dream where I wore a purple tri-cornered hat onto the bus and everyone laughed at me.

Your 9-5 friends will scare the crap out of you. Things not to say to a freelance writer:

-You may never work for “real” again. 

-You’re doing what? IN THIS ECONOMY?!

-Why couldn’t you make it as a real writer?

Just avoid phrases that can be punctuated with an interabang.

Did you ever quit a job to follow your passion? Do you freelance? Ring in with tips below. 

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A Case for the Commercial Writer

copywriting tips, writing jobs

Until Elwood’s modelling career takes off, this is all I have.

I took a hiatus from life to work a contract gig as a copywriter for a major corporation. With the exception of technical writing (or being a hugely famous author), copywriting is the most lucrative day job in the writing world. Travel writing appears to be the least lucrative so unless I want to be one of those hostel people (with dog? and husband? heck no), this is what I have to do.

There’s also video game writing, which I hear pays handsomely. I have no idea what that entails though.

If only I played Zelda more

I should stroll the bohemian stroll. I should be in Uruguay or something. I will be traveling again, once I figure out how to make travel journalism a fulltime job. That’s my goal this year and I am happy you’re aboard for the ride.

Thankfully, my current job is very creative and there’s free coffee. And because of all the stress and caffeine, I have an eye twitch. Maybe after my eye explodes, I’ll have to wear a patch and then I’ll become a super villainess — a corporate crime fighter in a pencil skirt. Continue reading


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Job Woes & the Search for my Mr. Miyagi

travel blog expat quebec expat blog

What Elwood does when I look for jobs

I am two parts commercial writer, one part travel writer and one part creative writer. I have six years experience, including two managing other writers. I moved to Canada and back. Now it’s like I am on the other end of an electric fence and I can’t get back into the job market.

Maybe they could sense that I was in Quebec, like a baby bird rejected from its mother because a human touched it.

I have been looking for work since April, when I moved back here. I have had countless job interviews. I am not desperate, not complaining, but I am frustrated. I need work and although I currently freelance write for multiple travel publications, there are long stretches of time spent in PJs writing a humorous inner monologues from vampires and bizarre stories about old folks’ homes.

I need to make money. Continue reading


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Quebec City in Cuisine & Clouds

I am finally finished with The Project from both heaven and hell. Funny, just as I finished, a month of 12-hour days, hunched at the computer, I read a forum where this lady said:

How can I get a job like Rick Steves and and Samantha Brown, travel around the world, and be PAID for it?”

If the forum wasn’t four-years old, I would reply: There is no job like that. And also, although I like Rick Steves, I am pretty sure Samantha Brown has no idea w-t-f she’s doing. Now Anthony Bourdain…

(Side note: Rick Steves and Expedia rejected me, so really, there is no job like that, even for me who has been travel writing for 2 years now.)

I also don’t REALLY travel the world, I expatriated and became a specialist in one specific region.

Travel writing, especially guidebook writing is A LOT of hard work. So please, think of us writers next time you toss a guidebook in the garbage. I like to save them, take notes on them, sort of like a journal of the trip. I imagine if you’re creative enough, you can make a cool collage or poster out of their innards.

I understand eventually, they’ll get tossed or (hopefully) recycled, but I hope people really appreciate and use them. Unlike with certain review sites, the writers are (theoretically) trained to taste-out the best restaurants, sniff out the best hotels.

Also, please don’t say, I Could Do Your Job. It’s insulting, like I just waltzed into it with no prior experience. The devaluation of writers is something I plan to tackle in a future post.

Travel writing, by far, with the exception of literary writing, the most rewarding type of writing I’ve ever done. I enjoy getting rid of restaurants who are obviously serving terrible food. And replacing those with ones I know visitors will have a great experience.

Here is a photo narrative of Quebec City cuisine.

Quebec City in Cuisine and Clouds

Want to look like a brilliant photographer? Take more aerial shots and stop using Instagram!

 

If you don’t like croissants, I question your status as a human.

 

Food porn, Quebec City restaurants

The best fish ever. Salmon in a cranberry sauce.

 

All baguettes should be presented like this.


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