Jen Yih2 Comments

Tips for the Aspiring Travel Writer

Jen Yih2 Comments
Tips for the Aspiring Travel Writer

I was on a walk with my mom two years ago on another rainy day in Portland, Oregon. God bless Mom's, of course she was listening to me rant about my typical boy-problems, frustrations with my job, beauty imperfections, worries, and wishes. She looked at me, under a pergula, surrounded by roses at Portland's beautiful Peninsula Park and asked me, "If you could do anything, what would you do?"

It was a simple answer. I said, I want to travel the world & write. I didn't want fame or fortune, a beach and a side of romance would be enough to fuel me for life. Be careful what you wish for. On the sidelines of my 9-5 job last year, I was working on a young adult memoir about the time I spent in Brazil as a 17-year-old, a children's book that was inspired by my grandmother, and another young adult book inspired by climate change & all the adventures through the West Coast USA. It was a lot, and I kept thinking, "Wow, my job is really getting in the way of my writing." I read all these writer's blogs with advice that said, "Do not quit your day job to be a writer!" But, you shouldn't' believe everything you read on the internet.

I'd finished my first children's book, well the writing portion - and was on the hunt for an illustrator, not just anyone, I had to find the perfect person and I did. Caroline J. Brown, she's from my little Midwest hometown. 

Second, I had to find an agent. You have to have an agent... I found a list on some website of USA and UK based agents and publishers. I e-mailed a pitch for my children's book to over 100 of them. I heard back from two. It wasn't until I put myself in London this past December was I able to link up on the same time zone with a Berlin, Madrid based agent with deep ties to Scholastic. We chatted, very seriously & voila... She denied my children's book BUT saw that I was already a published author from my previous side-hustle/college passion project Shy Town Girls. Since then, she & I have been working on that Young Adult Adventure book every single day. Stay tuned...

In the meantime, I need to make a living right? Although there's something so romantic about being a starving writer eating olive oil toast and coffee for breakfast every day like Patti Smith. But, my life's not like the movies or Patti's. 

I got lucky, this blogging thing paid off. I was able to link up with Kristina Roth in Hawaii who is embarking on her newest project called SuperShe - a community, brand, and events that bring women together from around the world to places like Hawaii and Turks & Caicos for fitness, fun, and sun. I'm currently her staff writer.

Look Mom, I'm doing it! I'm currently travelling & writing...like I said, be careful what you wish for.

Tips

  • *Write every single day, in notebooks, on napkins, on your computer. 

  • *Carry a notebook or use the Notes app on your phone to write down your everyday inspirations, doodles, words, characters.

  • *Take photos of things that inspire your writing.

  • *Be your biggest critic. Read, re-read, refine, define all of your work. 

  • *Writing a book? Characters are everything, start there & develop every little thing about them, draw inspiration from people you know, people you've met, people you love, people you aren't so keen on.

  • *Learn how to storyboard.  

  • *Make yourself deadlines. It's romantic to open up the ol' typewriter and let yourself bleed onto paper but you have to push yourself. You won't always want to write, but keep pushing through your story - you can always and will come back to re-read, refine, and define. 

  • *Editors, get other people to read your work, not just your biggest fans but people that will give you a new perspective. Get some tough skin for that negative feedback. You don't have to agree with your editor. My two best critics ever were a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old who told it to me straight! 

  • *Don't publish all of your work. You don't always need to write with the intention that other people are going to read it. Make sure some of your writing is personal & for your eyes only, write the truth. 

  • *You don't have to be a trained writer to tell a good story... Go live your life, fall in love, fall down because that's where the real stories come from. 

If you'd like to receive a copy of my upcoming book be sure to subscribe to my mailing list or send me an email & I'll send you a copy, personally. 

My cute little notebook from Cavallini & Co., a gift from the beautiful Christina at www.cmbcreative.co.

My cute little notebook from Cavallini & Co., a gift from the beautiful Christina at www.cmbcreative.co.