My intro story from BITW Episode 024: Travel Writer and Teacher Amanda Castleman Shares Her Top Tips to Take Your Writing to a New Level

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Today’s guest is an award winning freelance journalist and photographer. Her work has appeared many top travel publications and she has contributed to more than 30 travel books including Frommer’s, Michelin, The Rough Guides and National Geographic. She also teaches travel writing…. This episode is jam packed with great tips to take your travel writing up a notch and if you haven’t started yet, it will inspire you to get that first article started. But, first I wanted to let you know I’m back from Cebu, Philippines and Seoul, South Korea and my original intent was to start today’s podcast sharing some key points from the Tropical Think Tank Mastermind with Chris Ducker as well as my adventures in the Philippines and Korea. But, I think I’m going to do something a bit different and record a full episode or maybe two for these stories as I think I have too much I want to share with you to jam it into a 15 intro.

Goal Setting Techniques

Instead I’d like to take one lesson I learned at Tropical Think Tank from one of the speakers and share this today…. And next week I’ll have the lowdown on everything I learned and what the experience was like to attend a mastermind of the tropical think tank level.

Tropical Think Tank 2015 Group Shot

Tropical Think Tank 2015 Group Shot

Set boundaries around your website or podcast

The one lesson I’d love to share today was from a speaker on day Day 3 of the Mastermind. The speaker was Kate Erickson and she is ½ of the widely popular podcast Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas. Kate is responsible for a good chunk of the behind the scenes business and content creation for EOF as well as hosting her own podcast; Kate’s Take: The EntrepreneurOnFire Audio Blog – which are audio versions of her blog posts. Kate spoke about being partners in business and life during her session and there were some key takeaways I think apply to all of us – especially if you are struggling with trying to set boundaries around your travel writing work or just trying to find time to work on travel writing.

Kate Erickson and John Lee Dumas

Kate Erickson and John Lee Dumas

Scheduling Your Blogging Tasks

One of my favorite takeaways I got from her session was if you don’t schedule it, it’s not real. So, maybe you are a stay at home mom or maybe you have a full time job but you want to get started with travel writing and you just can’t find the time. Maybe you have already started a blog but find you are inconsistent about posting or working on your social media. Maybe you have the work part down but feel like you are falling short with your household or quality time with family or friends.

Kate’s suggestion was to create a schedule — on paper, on the computer or even in Google Calendar. Schedule out everything you can – this includes work time as well as date night, me time, work out time or anything else you want to make sure you fit in to your life on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Let’s say you want to write 1 new article a week. Instead of that being the entire goal – with no due date, you need to break it down. So, in this example – if you have your own blog – set the goal and date that it will post and work backwards. Let’s say you want to post a new blog post every Friday. You’d add this to your calender.

Then working backwards – with a project start of Saturday you’d calendar that every Saturday was the day you explored or researched your new article idea – you’d add this to your calendar with the block of time you need for this. Then Sunday you could block off 1 hour to review and edit photos you took on Saturday and that you can use in the post and for social media. Monday you could block off 2 hours for an outline and first draft of article.

Tuesday could be time off from this task.

Wednesday would be a review of draft, changes and final tweak. Thursday you would add your blog post to your website and schedule it to post Friday. Each one of these tasks would be given a specific window of time to accomplish. This way you are making it real.

Another example could be if you wanted to pitch 5 new publications a week. You set up your schedule possibly as follows. Monday you block off 2 hours to find and research 5 publications – this might include looking at the masthead if it’s a print publication to find out the best person to contact or if it’s an online pub to find the contact or about page to the right person and for both types of publications to read their submission guidelines.

Tuesday you could block off a couple hours to search for an editorial calendar and read recent published articles on each of the 5 publications. If you know your story angle – you could also do a search for your story location to make sure they haven’t already published something similar. Basically, figuring out the best way to pitch the outlet because you’ll want each pitch to be unique and thoughtful to the publication and their style.

Wednesday you could block off an hour to email the five publications.

Thursday you could send a follow up email to the 5 publications you contacted the week before if you didn’t hear back.

You can do this for bigger projects as well. Maybe you want to launch a blog for your travel writing. Set a goal for launch and work backwards. Just make sure you add each step in your calendar.

You’ll do this for as many things in your life as possible to make sure you fit in what is most important. Let’s say you want game night with your family or date night with your significant other or movie night or want to do yoga 3x times a week. Schedule it – connect it to your phone to give you alerts and print it out and put it in at least two places you look at several times a day. Maybe your bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, office wall, etc. Make it real and be accountable to yourself.

One other step you need to implement during these scheduled work times is to make sure your household knows that these are times that you need to be focused and uninterrupted. And last – you must be willing to follow the schedule or tweak it until you find a schedule that works best for you to accomplish your goals.

Have a question about setting boundaries or goals or creating a schedule? Or want to know more about what I learned from Kate Erickson on my trip? Please tweet me @writetotravel and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

One last thing, if you haven’t listened to the last few podcasts, I think you’ll be excited to hear that I am starting a small exclusive group for people who are serious about learning more about how to get started with travel writing, get media visits and get published as well as defining your why for travel and becoming a travel writer. If you want to learn more about how I am working with pr companies and directly with hotels and DMOs and traveling as much as time allows…….. stop what you are doing and go to and apply to be a part of the group.

It’s easy to apply and there are just a few questions that are fun to answer because it will get your mind thinking about the direction you want to take your travel writing career.

This group will be limited to a small number, so if you are ready to jump in with both feet to get your travel writing career started and you want to know all my secrets just go to and I will be contacting everyone to set up a call starting this week. It will be a quick call to discuss your travel and travel writing goals and I’ll give you all the details about the group and the launch date.

I’m really excited to hear from each of you who are ready to get your travel writing career started! So, again its to apply!


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