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April - the month my income came to me

April - the month my income came to me

This month felt like a bit of an experiment. I barely pitched any articles, I went on two press trips and yet still somehow made my income target (just). I feel as though I’m in a liminal space, but I’m not sure what is ahead. All I know is that freelance writing allows you to be so flexible and nimble. It feels like only a few short months ago I decided to focus on travel writing, and here I am, at the end of the month, having travelled to India and writing this post from Canada.

April - the month my income came to me

april month of questions

In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:

Pitched: 1

Commissions from pitches or query letters: 0

Rejections: 0

Offers: 3 (where the editor approached me with a commission)

In terms of feature articles for corporate and B2B clients: (I don’t pitch these)

Offers: 4

Overall number of articles filed: 12

Lowlights of April

For most of the month I felt a real tension between my choice to undertake more travel writing and my desire to be at home.

In my heart of hearts, I’m actually not sure I’m cut out to be a travel writer.

I love new places, cultures, languages and food, but I’m not a great traveller in the sense that I don’t love flying, I dislike the hours that slip away from me at airports, in transit and in customs queues. And each time, just before I travel I wonder why I have pursued travel writing so fervently, when it would be much easier (and let’s face it, lucrative) to stay at home.

I think a lot is because I love a challenge (or is it that I love the idea of a challenge?)

I like to put myself in new situations and when people say how hard it is to break into travel writing, or how hard it is to break into a particular magazine, rather than putting me off, it makes me wonder if those things are possible and if I can achieve them.

As you might have read in my last post, I’m discovering new things all the time about the life of a travel writer, and this month I’ve had a lot of time on planes and buses and in transit to think.

While I was in India in the middle of the month, my young daughter was very unwell and I felt so worried about her.

There’s nothing like a sick child and a parent miles away from each other to really bring home what’s important.

Thankfully she’s fine now, but when I got home she told me she didn’t want me to go away again. So, it’s hard. It was definitely a lowlight of my month, and one where I was questioning my decision to focus so heavily on travel.

Highlights of April

Needless to say, I’ve had some incredible experiences this month.

As a vegetarian, I find that at times it can be tricky writing feature articles about food and travel, and often rely on asking my dining companions to describe their meat or seafood dishes for me so I can include those elements in my stories.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I was invited to experience Intrepid’s first vegan food tour in India.

The tour is one of three vegan experiences (in India, Thailand and Italy) that Intrepid have just launched, and it was the first time that I have gone on a travel writing trip with a ‘regular’ tour group (e.g. not as part of a famil or press trip or on my own personalised trip).

My article from the trip hasn’t been published yet, so I don’t want to write too much, but I will say that I was blown away by the variety and regionality of northern Indian cuisine.

We went to three local families’ homes where they welcomed us like we were long lost relatives, showed us how to make certain dishes and we shared food together.

We had a wonderful, funny and knowledgeable tour guide who used to work for a very exclusive, high-end tour company. He told me he sought out Intrepid because of their focus on sustainability and ethics, but also because they encouraged travellers to see “the real India.”

I had such a positive experience and it made me start thinking about how when you’re a travel writer, the impact of your experiences is not just about writing an article for readers, but how you translate the experience into the context of your own life.

I didn’t expect this at all, but I came back home and looked up different Intrepid tours that my own little family might do, and told my vegan sister and cousin that I would recommend the tour 100%.

In this way, our reach as travel writers and freelance writers goes well beyond the words we put on the page.

{Related content: Intrepid travel also have a blog that commissions freelance writers)

Income that comes to you

I know that I mention this in nearly every post, but each month I am reminded of just how important it is to maintain relationships with your editors and clients.

On the first April, I had nearly $1500 worth of work commissioned from a corporate client without me needing to pitch.

If you don’t have these kinds of relationships, freelance writing quickly becomes an exhausting (and never ending) hustle.

A few days before the end of the month, I was more than $1000 off my income target.

An old client (who I keep in touch with) emailed and offered me a 1500 word assignment paying $1/word.

If you can build these kinds of relationships with your editors and clients, making good money as a freelance writer suddenly doesn’t seem so hard.

A resource I’d recommend

I’ve really been enjoying the articles on Medium’s “The Whole Story” about solutions journalism.

Solutions Journalism is a relatively new term that describes a way of approaching reporting that focuses on potential solutions to complex social problems. It’s an evidence-based way of looking at, and reporting on, the world.

Before I came across this site, I hadn’t really heard much or read about solutions journalism, so I’m really enjoying learning about it, and how it can have a positive social impact.

(Related content: If you’re interested in writing about social issues, there are some great publications that you can pitch)

My income for April

I’m still working three days a week and more than half my month was spent travelling, so I set my income target at $5000 for April.

I came in just over that, having had $5046.45 worth of work commissioned.

I invoiced for $3785 in April.

My income for this year is nowhere near where it has been in the past two years, but I’m okay with that. Earning great money as a freelance writer is absolutely possible, but at the moment, I’m really content hitting an average income and getting to see more of the world.

How was your April? Do you have any goals for May?

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From marketing manager to executive editor - meet Michelle Pini

From marketing manager to executive editor - meet Michelle Pini

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What no one ever tells you about being a travel writer