January 11, 2017

Second Thoughts: January Edition

by Meredith Bethune
food & travel writer
January 2017

Happy New Year! Please answer my one question survey and tell me what you'd like from my newsletter in 2017. I'd really appreciate it! 

In the meantime, I'm adding a new section about breaking into freelance writing. Send along your questions and I'll try my best to answer them.

What I'm writing: 

My article for Gravy by Southern Foodways Alliance appeared in print this fall. Now it's available online. If you only read one of my articles ever, please make it this one. 

I also wrote a profile of one of my safari guides in Kenya. She's one of only a handful of women who works in the industry. It's my first article for Smithsonian

Here's another dispatch from my trip to Singapore— salted egg yolk mania is taking over the city. Find it in everything from croissants to cocktails. 

Ok, I didn't write this, but you can watch four other travel writers and me talk about the tricks of the trade at BinderCon. Unfortunately there's a small fee to watch if you didn't attend the conference. 

Where I've been/where I'm going:

Dustin and I just returned from a road trip to Berlin and a day in Poland. Now I'm getting ready to fly to Israel this weekend! Got any tips?


What I'm reading:

Even illustrators get burned out
I'm hoping to see this documentary on Goebbels's secretary
I had no idea the life of an Instagram influencer was this fake
We're all sick of ticketed restaurant reservations
Saveur goes to a local diner in my hometown
What a literary agent actually does
I'm loving Rachel Monroe's crazy stories from Texas like this one
What guidebooks to the USA tell foreigners about our culture
I'm dying to try this new smart brush
Syrian refugees encounter cultural challenges in Toronto
It's tough making American sheep's milk cheeses
Can you actually set aside a day just to think?
I've watched All The President's Men like 100 times here's the story about the women involved

Getting Real about Writing:

Question: How do you break into travel writing without an journalism background or writing samples?

Answer: Start writing and start traveling any way you can while still holding down a day job. Subjects could include your summer vacation, weekend trips close to home, or even your honeymoon. 

Then, find a way to get your writing in front of readers somehow. It can be a blog at first but also consider neighborhood newsletters (my first "real" clip), newish websites that seem hungry for content, or even small, local newspapers. Your goal is to create something (anything!) that editors can look at when you eventually level-up and start hustling for paid work. 

Links for writers:

Look out for these red flags when signing contracts
Ann Friedman talks about how to be a successful freelancer
On that same note, I can relate to the anxiety of the permalancer

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