Love writing? Love travel? I'll help you merge them

Stumbling into the world’s best job

In 2006, I left the UK to move to India. It was daunting and intimidating. It was exotic. It was exciting. It was ridiculously hot. And it was also the move that tacked my life away from what could have been a pressure-cooker of a career as a jobbing journalist in London, to instead start to entertain the idea that I might, possibly, with a bit of luck and a lot of sweat, be able to earn a living writing about amazing places and experiences.

It worked out.

I’ve been a travel writer and editor for more than a decade, a job that has taken me around Komodo and Flores on an Indonesian phinisi, through Hanoi on the back of a scooter, up New York alleyways, down European aqueducts, and over many parts of the globe I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

And it all started because I was brave enough to make that leap …

The backstory

New Delhi, India. Summer of 2007. I was living (before it became a coined term) a “digital nomad’s” life.

I had no boss, no office to clock into, no probation periods, no HR assessment meetings, no annual performance reviews, no 15 days holiday a year.

I could go where I wanted, when I wanted.

I could wear pyjamas till noon and drink on a Tuesday.

I smiled a lot.

I did have rats.

And a nearly worrying cholesterol problem (damn that delicious ghee).

But I was free. I was living the way I wanted to live.

I was traveling.

I was writing.

And I was getting paid good sums of money by British and American magazines, newspapers and websites to keep doing exactly that.

How?

I’d figured out a formula for conceiving, pitching and selling freelance stories to publications around the world that worked.

I call this a ‘formula’ today, because it encapsulates the method behind most successful freelancers.

Back then though it wasn’t anything nearly so deliberate.

I stumbled into this method (or formula) and was simply happy to have somehow found some success as a freelancer.

But since then I’ve been able to dissect and analyse this method, formularise it, and present it for others.

And don’t worry, I’m not going to make you scroll through another 2,000 words of my drivel before I show it to you.

Here it is:

Good ideas
+ Good pitches
+ Credentials
+ Good execution
+ Being manageable
+ Being responsive

= SUCCESSFUL FREELANCING

Doesn’t look too complicated right?

Of course not.

It makes total sense.

But the secret to making this freelancing formula work for you, is to get inside each of those elements.

Each part of the formula above has its own formula – its own method for ensuring your success as a freelance writer.

That’s what I’ve spent the last 12 months working on and why this project exists.

I’ve broken down each element of the formula into its smallest component parts, to create a DNA blueprint of this freelancing method.

I haven’t gone overboard.

You don’t need, nor should you want, to work through hours and hours of video how-tos or PDF manuals on basic aspects of writing and freelancing.

I’ve condensed my program into a series of must-know lessons, paying particular attention to the sell.

If you can sell well, you’ll have no trouble making a good living as a freelance writer.

Why me?

So why do I think I’m the guy who can help you out?

Well, the key thing that makes this course unique, is that it’s been created and designed by someone with extensive experience as both a freelancer and a commissioning editor.

For the last 10 years I’ve been buying, and binning, stories from freelancers on a daily basis as an editor at CNN, LE PAN and Discovery.

Using that knowledge from the editor’s side of the desk, I’ve sold stories into various high profile publications including CNN, The Independent, Travel + Leisure, SCMP, AFP, Condé Nast, VICE, The Daily Mail, GQ and more.

I’ve worked on print and digital across a variety of publications that have differing policies and protocols when it comes to assigning freelancers – and I can reveal the details on all of them.

I’ve authored two books about pitching and writing freelance stories.

There are a lot of good books out there about freelancing, but they’re all written by freelancers.

What you really need is to get that information straight from the horse’s mouth.

That’s my USP – I’m telling you not just how I sell freelance articles, but also, far more importantly, what goes through my head when I BUY them.

I’ve bought, I estimate, more than 1,500 freelance articles over the years, spending close to US$750,000 on those stories.

That’s a lot of bad ideas, terrible pitches and indecipherable emails, as well as a few glowing gems among them.

TWE lays it all out transparently, honestly and with blueprints to follow to make sure you give yourself the best chance of making that sale, and living the freelance life.

Do you want to take that leap yourself too? Get in touch. Let me help.

This site contains all the tricks, tips and bits of advice I’ve picked up over those years, so that you might be able to travel the world as a writer too.

Do please reach out if there’s anything you want to ask in advance of spending any money. There’s a lot of good info here that you don’t need to buy, in the form of the blog articles I’ve written and the ebooks I’ve put together. Take it all! I hope it helps.

Birth of a travel writer. On assignment in Rajasthan, India for Travel Weekly, one of my earliest freelance travel writing jobs. Click here for more pictures showing a few of the experiences I’ve had and places I’ve gone as a travel writer.

I love to hear from readers and visitors. Reach out using the form below, or write to me directly at jd {at} jamesdurston.com.

MISSION

To help every wannabe travel writer become a working, earning travel writer within 6 months.

BOOKS

The Travel Write Earn books have been read by several thousand people and are rated 4.5 out 5.

SERVICES

I offer coaching and mentorship to beginner and intermediate travel writers.

CLASS IS OPEN!

I always try to make room for new students. If you’re starting a travel writing career, please reach out.

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