Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely, solitary pursuit, holed away in the confines of your study. It can be an adventure ripe with exotic backdrops perfect for inspiring that next great novel. Getting there is a matter of creativity worthy of your brilliant story arc. There are a number of new incentives for writers to travel and earn while they’re at it.
Imagine setting up at a beachfront hotel while you finish your great story. Imagine traversing the continental United States in a sleeper car on a train and writing about the adventure as you roll along. Here’s a look at some of the enterprises salivating at the mouth for writers to pay them a visit and …write!
Before you launch out that front door with a half-packed travel bag, you should know that what’s fundamentally involved in getting there is a recipe of stick-to-itiveness and creativity. The creativity comes in hand when choosing the venue or client that will host you, and then determining why they should do so. The stick-to-itiveness will engage your business acumen as you utilize a never say die attitude for pitching your proposal to any number of hotels, airlines, PR companies and their respective clients and other sources for get up and go.
1. The usual suspects
The usual suspects for a writer hoping to find a room with a view, finish off a bottle of pale ale, and sit with pen in hand before an exotic sunset are for our purposes grants, fellowships, and residencies. You should be no stranger to any of these. All of the aforementioned offer a writer a chance to set up shop for a period ranging from a week to several months on end in order to finish a project. No worries, no bills to attend to, no other responsibilities nipping at your heels while you polish off your draft novel. If you can justify funding your project with grant money then consider applying to your local arts council.
For US residents, each state offers a form of Individual Artist Grant and/or Fellowship that will typically range in award money from $1000 to $15000. That’s the kind of money you put to use for the production of your novel if you’re self-publishing, promotion if you’re using a publicist and agent team, or hitting the open road to write the story that’s living inside of you.
More exotic climes await you if applying for residencies, some in wide open farmland or others across the Atlantic. A residency will typically provide room and board, artist workspace and a stipend to cover your living expenses while you focus on your work. An excellent resource for finding all of the above is CAFE.
2. Do your part for diplomacy
Writers rarely think of themselves as businesspeople much less diplomats or ambassadors. But NGOs and bodies like the UN are constantly looking for artists such as ourselves to commune with foreign cultures and exchange ideas. The European Union, for instance, is teeming with opportunities for great minds to come together and discuss international relations, policy, creative process, or merely share new works and readings. Some of the communities involved are starved for attention from western artists and therefore have brilliant opportunities for writers to set up residency and work on a new project.
While there, a writer may lead a workshop with local youth, give a reading, or engage in a conference with artists from across the globe. An excellent source for finding these types of opportunities is Idealist, a platform which champions the good in all of us.
3. Planes, trains and automobiles
Okay not so much the automobiles but more like hotel chains. Ever watch an episode of Sex and the City and wonder how much free advertising a chain like the W Hotel benefitted from? Most likely plenty with all the delicious cocktails imbibed by the lovely ladies at the hotel in many an episode. Imagine offering such a chain the very same sort of brilliant advertising by way of your writing. It’s possible. In fact it’s par for the course for a slew of hotels, Amtrak, European travel companies and train lines, and in some cases car brands.
I personally had an opportunity to roll around in a Honda Element for 6 months some years ago and speak high praises of the company after I handed back the keys. And for your part all you need is to brush off your best pitch /query and fire it off to the marketing minds at said hotel, automobile company or train line.
Tell them that you’d love to write a few nice PR pieces on the hotel or the new direct service between Geneva and Milan, granted a short stay or travel ticket. You exchange some well-crafted PR pieces for a place to rest your head and finish chapter one. Amtrak is already taking a page out of our own playbook by launching a train residency for an exciting writer.
Amtrak grants 2-5 day residencies aboard an Amtrak train allowing writers to work on their artistic endeavors without interruption of day-to-day life as they travel roundtrip across the picturesque country.
- Board one of their lines
- Take in the great expansive panorama of the continental US and
- Write what inspires you
More information about Amtrak’s glorious residency can be found at blog.amtrak.com/amtrakresidency. And the Betsy Hotels of South Beach Miami are similarly offering a writer’s residency. Contact www.thebetsyhotel.com for guidelines on how to formally apply.
4. Public relations possibilities
Here, my friends, is where the possibilities are endless. PR boutiques are constantly on the lookout for freelance writers worth their weight in gold calligraphy-etched articles. A boutique may run the gamut of clientele from gridiron stars to fortune 500s. Somewhere in the mix are a bevy of resort spas, hotel chains, restaurant openings…You get the drift. And for every needy VIP client, an agency needs at least one good writer to craft the kind of copy that gets butts in seats, punters in restaurants, and luxury vacationers sunbathing poolside.
Are you that special writer?
If you can pitch a brilliant query to an agent or publisher then you should be equally genius at pitching to a PR agency. Finding the one best suited for you can be determined from any number of means. But first and foremost consider location, location, location. Choose a few cities where you’d like to go for instance (Paris, Rome, Vienna, Memphis). Query the boutiques on hand in said city and propose offering a bit of scintillating, beautifully written PR from an anglophone to an equally anglophone readership. And if you’re multilingual and can translate into the language of a highly sought after demographic, even better.
The requisite writing fee plus the perks of visiting the spa or restaurant in question. Think outside the box. Make your pitch sell and make the agency heads want to hire you right away. Your pitch is your plane ticket, spa date, caviar and sake dish. So make it sparkle.
The keys to the kingdom of adventure travel for us writers (however you may define adventure travel) lie in your own capacity to be brave and daring as a writer and as your own pitchman or pitchwoman. If you can make a Michelin star chef hungry for his own ratatouille, then you’ve written yourself a place at the table in his restaurant. Likewise if you can make the marketing heads at that 4 star hotel sleep sweet dreams on their own ergonomic pillows just from the moving PR lullaby you pen about their gorgeous hotel suites, book yourself a holiday getaway. You’re limited only so much as your creativity and your willingness to marry business with your passion. Be bold.
About the author:
Akil Wingate is an American writer and singer-songwriter based in Lausanne, Switzerland. He currently writes for Style Equation, Viral Fashion, and Menswear Style UK magazines. He also has been published in The Savvy Explorer, Writers Weekly, Writing Tomorrow, Devilfish Review, and others. When he isn’t writing, composing or touring the world, he usually can be found in the kitchen whipping a challenging recipe into shape. Follow Akil on Tumblr
Also by Akil Wingate:
1. Mastering Social Media in Today’s Freelance Writing Marketplace (article)