Wednesday, 18 March 2009

What Next? (Travel)

I wrote a little on Monday about my plans for my fiction over the next couple of months. But at the same time as relaxing to a slightly slower pace on my novel-writing, I'm hoping to ramp up the travel writing - well, I wouldn't want to get bored, would I?!

I've had a bit of luck so far by simply pushing out general 'can I write something?' queries, but it's time to get a lot more focused. I think it's time to make sure I generate at least one angle from every trip I take, whether in the UK or abroad, and take enough supporting photographs to plausibly make a sale.

I've also acquired a number of glossy magazines of the travel variety, and newspaper travel supplements, to study and consider.

My other travel project on the horizon is a book about the cycling trip I took round Iceland - which I envision being the sort of beautiful hardback you'd be proud to keep on your coffee-table (while being careful not to spill coffee on it, of course!). One of my friends is lining up a meeting with her publisher so I'll let you know how that goes. Planning to return to Iceland this summer, with the new camera, in case I need any higher-quality images.

But once you start thinking about travel writing in a serious way, one big question seems to loom: what about guidebooks? At the moment, I'm leaning strongly away from that idea. I enjoy writing with my voice; I have no particular urge to perfect a guidebook-style factuality, and absolutely no desire to spend my holidays running around to discover a million cafes, restaurants, and hotels. On the other hand, I encounter a lot of special places on my wanderings which I want to share. For now, my solution is twofold:
(a) emails to the Lonely Planet, as my current favourite series, to help them with their updates
(b) adding tips to, a lovely site collecting recommendations from around the world (run by The Guardian newspaper)

The third prong in this approach may be to also toss out recommendations via Twitter (still experimenting there), but that feels too transient.


Domestic Executive said...

Check out Cadogan Guides. I swear by them. They are travel guides but give an insight to places that is poetic as well as useful. We've enjoyed many a trek around places standing on street corners to read the stories that give insight to history or curiosity. They only have a limited range and I'd love to know what they might say about New Zealand.

Good luck with all this.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to seeing your Iceland book!

I get where you're coming from re: guidebooks. Years ago I met a guy writing for Let's Go. He had an incredibly rushed travel schedule to find new things while fact checking old listings.

Coincidentally as I write this I'm listening to the radio and the advice being broadcast is write what you know and you know you best.

Stopping by via 52WoC.

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