“I’m not here to sell things. That’s what other people do, I’m creating them.
If it doesn’t work out, I’m sorry; I’m just doing what I do. You hired me to do what I do, not what you do.
As long as people don’t tell me what to do, there will be no problem.”
In a recent e-mail I received the following…
“…great focus and well-written but after discussing it…we feel it’s not really suitable for the papers…They’re after the more conventional travel pieces.”
I am not writing this is blame the editors who wrote me that email, but rather to explain why most travel articles you read in many of the big (and small) newspapers sound ‘conventional’.
You know the stories I’m talking about…the articles that use words like ‘pristine wilderness’ or ‘swaying palms’ or ‘quaint and charming’ or ‘storybook’ or my all-time nemesis travel word, ‘ubiquitous’.
Recently, I had a different experience, where a story I had written was edited so it would not include the word ‘feces’ because ‘readers might find it offensive”.
Feces?? Did I write the word shit? No I did not. Surely we can handle the word feces?
This might sound like a rant. And perhaps it is. I hope not.
I’m just trying to explain why I am sending out less and less travel story queries while continuing to blog:
I blog because I can use any words I want.
I blog because I’m doing what I want when I want to do it.
I blog for the immediacy (one story took just over two years from the time I pitched it to a magazine until it was finally published).
I blog for the connection I get from readers (which is why I love the comments!)
And I blog for the same reason I started travel writing…because I love how it forces me to find out what I think, to see what I believe, to explore my thoughts and give a voice to those thoughts & to have a chance to reflect and re-live experiences.
Best of all, I can do all this whether I’m traveling somewhere very different from Canada or simply wandering around my neighbourhood or in the tumbled synaptic connections in my head.
Mostly, I blog because I like connecting dots between quotes I have seen, photos I have taken and some random neural firing that sees the thread between them all.
In short, blogging is my form of virtual collage and I love, love, love making collages.
Collage-writing-publishing-blogging does NOT work in the Travel section, or in fact, any section at all.
Turns out, I’m happy it’s turned out this way.
Because the top reason I blog? It’s fun.
And fun is w-a-a-a-y more interesting than fighting to use the word feces.