Writing Idea

by Emily
(New York)

Question: I'm 18 years old and attending college to achieve the ultimate goal of receiving my journalism degree. The path that I want to take with journalism is not exactly the most general path. I have been working throughout the school year and the summer and plan on continuing to do that until I receive my degree. I then plan on spending 1-2 years working year round and saving all of the money that I gain from this work along with the money I have saved throughout the years. After this, I plan on flying to California and then traveling my way back to New Jersey/New York from state to state. This is something I have wanted to do since I was younger and I feel that it is something that must be done. Throughout my travels I wish to write about the people I meet, the experiences I have, and the things I learn from each state. I know that this idea is a bit far fetched, but it is something I have always wanted to do. Do you think it's possible? If so, are there any suggestions you could give me? And if not, is there anything I could do that may be more achievable but still similar? Thank you for all of your help.

Answer: I'm sure you know there is a long tradition of young people who do the "Grande Tour," traveling to see the world during that period after school and before settling down at a job/family. It has long been considered a very valuable period in one's life, for a variety of reasons. Many do what you're planning - work for a
while to save the money to do it.

Whether you can make money writing about your adventures depends on a lot of factors. It's a bit of a long shot, though I couldn't say impossible.

I think the trick to making it work is first to have a unique and interesting angle to your writing that will attract readers, just as if you were writing on any topic. Second, you need to have solid plan. For instance, will you get an editor to pay you to write about your travels, as a series? (Make sure you only sell first-publication rights.) Will you blog and sell advertising on your blog, in the hope of attracting a publisher for a book?

You may not make much money doing this, especially if you don't have a following beforehand. You might start building one now. And I think you need a back-up plan in case the writing doesn't sell.

One idea you might consider, once you have a unique angle worked out, is to look at crowd funding sites like Indiegogo. The idea behind them is that you make a video pitch, asking people to donate money for your art or writing project. If you reach your target, you then do the project (in this case, travel and write). Any one can donate a few dollars to your cause. You then give the donors a copy of the end product as a thank you. The trick is to make a video pitch that makes the donors want to support you. You might give them a sample of the kind of thing you intend to do, so they can see the value.

Best of luck.

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