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This summer, while many staff writers hop on the jitney to the Hamptons, a freelancer worth her salt should journey somewhere unexpected—and write about it. Underreported stories abound along the open road, in Middle America, in the outback, and other places where “summer” is not a verb. And for freelancers looking to carve out a niche, perhaps travel, culture, or adventure writing might be the place to start. Herewith, The Freelance Strategist presents an overview of how to turn your summer vacation into freelance writing assignments.
1. Tell the reader how to travel on a dime
Writers planning road trips can gather service article ideas to pitch to mags including Budget Travel and Via Magazine. While Budget Travel seeks “timely tips and tools” and “the best under-the-radar discoveries,” Via Magazine looks to “lay bare the secrets of destinations around the globe, across the country, and, most often, just down the road.”
2. Show the audience how to eat, pray, and/or love
Because personal essays thrive on exploring and perhaps changing one’s own life, a reporter can use her travels as an opportunity to discover, reinvent, and write about herself. Working Mother seeks stories on work/life balance while Nerve wants nonfiction on the writer’s love life.
3. Introduce the reader to local culture
“The truth is, when you do a lot of traveling, you start to realize how much every place looks the same,” says writer Burkhard Bilger in The New Yorker Out Loud podcast. “The writer’s job is to say….‘There is something else going on here that you hadn’t expected.’” Even when traveling to oft-tread terrain, writers can explore subcultures and pitch stories on them to mags such as Vice and Salon and relevant regional outlets including Washingtonian and Oxford American.
4. Guide the reader off the beaten path
The editors of Outside want “sports and adventure travel pieces; profiles of engaging outdoor characters; and investigative stories on environmental issues.” Journalists with a love of the great outdoors can use their upcoming hikes in the backcountry as story fodder for this magazine plus Sierra, Backpacker, and more.