Writer and editor of blog Wandercloud Emma Vince shares her tip for making your travel writing come alive…
As a writer for work and wannabe globetrotter for play, it made sense to start a blog, Wandercloud, to keep some of my thoughts and photographs together from the places I’ve travelled.
Writing for fun on Wandercloud is very different to how I would pitch or write at work; here are a few things I try to consider when blogging about travel…
#1 MAKE IT PERSONAL
When I read a fashion or beauty blog, I’m interested to know what the writer thinks about a certain trend or product, and so I try to adopt that attitude when writing for Wandercloud. Blogs by nature are personal and are a place where experiences and recommendations are all grouped together under one roof. People who are reading want to know your opinion, so don’t be afraid to give it.
#2 A NATURAL TONE = A MUST
When you write something as a journalist, you need to be able to employ various styles for different occasions, but when I write for the blog I don’t employ a filter, instead I try to write in the most natural tone, the kind that just falls out as I type.
I don’t worry so much about excessive uses of brackets (so many asides) or trailing off sentences with ellipses… Ease of reading is the only thing that really matters, so let your personality shine through by keeping the tone friendly and approachable.
#3 FIND YOUR ANGLE
The first step to pitching an article or feature for publication would be to find a news hook or an angle, and while blogging can be less structured, I still think it’s important to give the story a reason. It’s the same reason a reader will keep going through to the end. It will also provide you with a natural conclusion or reflection at the end of your piece, rather than having to finish with a bleak description of your journey to the airport home.
For places I travel for work, the angle is almost always romance and honeymoons, and when I travel by myself, it’s either budgeting or prioritising in a certain amount of time (24 hours in… etc). Anything can be an angle, from shopping to food, so don’t be afraid to divide and conquer within posts.
#4 BE SPECIFIC
I like to write to be helpful, and rather than just typing up my diary-like journal from the trip, include recommendations. Incorporating names of shops, streets and restaurants will help you sound authoritative, and hyperlinks are also really useful for readers if they want to plan their own trips.
The best way to do this is to travel with a notebook so you can jot things down at the time, or, if you can’t be bothered to root around in your backpack every few minutes, snap a picture of road signs and shop exteriors with your camera for reference later.
#5 PAINT A PICTURE
One of the “rules” for effective creative writing is to show not tell (or so said my creative writing tutors). In travel writing, showing is the way to make the reader feel like they’re right there with you. You can evoke feeling by layering visual descriptions of the sights, with smells, sounds and textures to give the reader a full sensory experience.
Sometimes, I find telling necessary to fast-forward between places or link together different experiences and events. I’m still also a culprit of occasionally throwing in the odd ‘stunning’, ‘delicious’ or ‘beautiful’, but words like that are subjective and by showing rather than telling what something looks or tastes like, the reader can draw their own conclusions from your writing which is a far more satisfying experience.
All images © Emma Vince / Wandercloud.