Travel Writing Seminar – Sydney Writers Centre (Review)

Wish you could combine your passion for travel with writing about the destinations you visit?

If you’re wondering how you can become a paid travel writer then you’re in luck because I was recently invited to review the Travel Writing Seminar held at the Sydney Writers Centre.

You’ll learn the secrets of the trade including planning ahead, how to pitch your articles to editors and eventually “crack the market” and be published.

The seminar is presented by Geoff Bartlett, a seasoned freelance travel writer and photographer with years of experience writing for and dealing with numerous magazines, newspapers and other publications.

Besides his friendly manner, Geoff’s main strength is that he’s a straight talker and upfront in saying that “you will not get rich as a result of travel writing, at best it will help to subsidise the cost of your holiday”.

On the flip side Geoff emphasises that travel writing is not a difficult skill to learn

I think that travel writing is akin to job hunting because it’s a numbers game where you can greatly increase your chance of success and get streets ahead of your competitors by planning ahead at least 3-6 months and following Geoff’s strategies & procedures to improve the odds that you’ll successfully pitch your story and get published.

The seminar covers these areas:

  • What it takes to be a travel writer
  • Finding and focusing your story (the right subject, travel trends, developing your story)
  • Publishing opportunities (newspapers, magazines, electronic publishing, travel literature, guidebooks, other avenues)
  • Styles of travel stories and which publications to target
  • The facts about what most travel writers earn per story

As an aside, I found it interesting (but was not surprised) to hear that travel publications have a very hard nosed profit minded attitude

For example: articles in a publication may be sub-edited to mention the names of companies that have substantial advertising relationships with the publisher and a significant number of “travel articles” are merely rewritten press releases from tourist boards and PR agencies.

Seminar Frequency, Cost, Facilities etc

The Sydney Writers Centre Travel Writing seminar is held
every 2 months and costs $65 inc GST.

The seminar is held in the evening from 6:30pm to 8:30pm with a capacity for 18 students.

The centre is located a few minutes walk from Milsons Point station on the north side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and you’ll be given clear instructions about how to get there once you’ve made a booking.

I suggest that you aim to get there 15 minutes early so you can chat with other students, make use of the tea/coffee facilities and snack on a cookie.

Understandably Geoff can’t wait for stragglers with only 2 hours to go through a jam packed seminar so don’t be late as he’ll start at 6:30pm sharp.

Geoff hands out notes at the beginning of the seminar summarising his key points but as a writer in training you should bring along a pen and notepad regardless to take down any extra details he mentions during the evening.

PS I encourage you to submit ideas for guest articles on my Road Less Travelled Blog. Guest writers get generous attribution, links to their own website/online photo galleries and a Unique Road Less Travelled Photo T-shirt if I chose to publish more than 1 of your articles

3 thoughts on “Travel Writing Seminar – Sydney Writers Centre (Review)”

  1. Hi Neerav, I also attended one of Geoff’s travel writing courses last December. He gave good advice about starting out as a travel writer and which smaller publications to pitch (even if it is unpaid work). But I didn’t think the seminar delivered much in terms of finding and structuring a story. For anyone who hasn’t done much writing before I would recommend also taking the feature writing class that the Sydney Writers Centre runs (here is my review http://review-your-life.blogspot.com/2009/02/sydney-writers-centre-feature-writing.html). Janna

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