2017 is winding down and what a year it’s been for this freelance children’s writer who also fills her time writing about travel!
The Freelance Life
Work-wise, it was probably one of my least productive years – five children’s non-fiction books completed, an article on Nashville’s Germantown for German Life, an adventure piece for Victoria’s Vacation Guide, a round-up of pet-friendly things in Calgary for WHERE Calgary, a piece on summer in Kananaskis Country for Avenue Magazine, and an article for Senior Living on a Moroccan adventure. All, but one, of the travel pieces were new markets for me.
Sadly, I also said goodbye to teaching a continuing education class at Mount Royal University on travel writing. The numbers have been steadily dwindling over the years and there were only two students registered for the November course. After more than 11 years, it was a mutual decision to close the course for good. I’ll miss the opportunity to talk writing and travel – two of my favourite things – with like-minded souls.
Now this may all seem slightly less than positive, but 2017 was truly an inspirational year!
Taking Time to Travel
2017 was less time in the office, less money in the bank, but more time actively exploring this big, beautiful world of ours. The year started with a ski getaway to a mountain hostel, followed by another backcountry ski adventure into Assiniboine before diving into the Galapagos and summiting mountain passes in Peru on the way to Machu Picchu.
Barely home long enough to wash clothes and I was off again kayaking and hiking in Door Country, WI and wandering along snippets of the Oregon Trail in western Nebraska. Summer ushered in a paddling trip on the South Saskatchewan River, camping at B.C.’s Premier Lake, walks on the endless beaches of northern B.C.’s Haida Gwaii, hiking in southern Alberta’s Castle Country and climbing passes in Jasper National Park.
Fall into winter meant taking a trip to check out the Magnolia Magic happening in Waco, Texas, camping/hiking/biking trip in southern Utah and Colorado, cross-country skiing in Kimberley, B.C. and climbing sacred steps in multiple Mayan ruins in Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas.
Writing About Travel
I took time this year to start – note to self: must continue – several online courses about blogging. Krista Dickson’s “Profit from Your Passion” covers everything from building your brand to creating crave-worthy content to using social media strategically. Best takeaway so far? Creating the elevator pitch (sell your blog in 30 words or less) and tagline.
My elevator pitch was easy: Time.Travel.Trek. is a history travel blog for people who love uncovering bits and pieces of the past – especially if it involves a hike, bike or paddle to get there! Tagline: Actively Looking into the Past.
Melyssa Griffin’s “Blog to Biz Hive” focuses more on learning how to create email lists, content upgrades and online courses. Best takeaway so far? How to create an opt-in form and add to website.
Build Blog Freedom, by Digital Nomad Wannabe superstar Sharon Gourley, starts with goal setting, surges forward with using keywords effectively and dives into affiliate marketing. Best takeaway so far? Learning about DA – domain authority – and key ways to increase your site’s DA.
I still have much to learn when it comes to blogging. I’m still tinkering a lot with the travel blog’s appearance. There are times when I’m confused about how to get it to look the way I want it. Hoping one day soon I’m happy with it’s appearance! I’m frequently distracted from blogging by paying projects. I can’t help but wonder if the time and effort expended on blogging will pay off in the long run.
Still, the plan for 2018 is to focus on writing more about travel and ease off on the children’s books. After more than 80 books, I think I’m ready to slow down. Trust me when I say I’ve got a backlog of travel material waiting to be published.
I’d also like to fire up this site, a blog about one writer’s life, and make it more of a freelancing “how to” site. I’d like to come up with an online course about writing children’s non-fiction for educational publishers. I’d like to come up with an online course for writing about travel in print markets.
Next year we’re kicking off travels with a trip to southern Arizona. The plan is to fly our mountain bikes down, rent a camperized van and explore the land of cacti while the serpents sleep. And yes, I will be writing about it… somewhere… eventually!
What are your writing plans or travel goals for 2018?