“The big vision is to make my name as a travel writer, to have articles commissioned and be able to make a living from my passion”
Today I’m inviting one of my old friends from school, Angharad Paull, to share with us how she discovered a new passion- travel writing. Read on to find out how she’s managed to build her blog and profile in a new industry whilst in a full time marketing job, how being a mum-to-be has influenced how she wants to style her career, and her top tips for balancing building a profile as a writer with maintaining a full time job.
What inspired you to set up your own Travel Writing & Photography blog?
When we got married last year, my husband and I decided to do something quite unusual – he quit his job, I postponed mine, we rented our flat and took a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon sabbatical (or ‘Wandermoon’ as I like to call it!). Four months traveling across Africa – starting in Zanzibar and working away through Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, ending up in South Africa.
I’d started travel writing in my previous job as an Editor for Sawday’s and our honeymoon was such a special, unique experience that I wanted to record it for years to come. I’d plan blog pieces on our lengthy journeys across the African continent, type the articles with one finger on my iPhone and upload them using a WordPress app when we came to an area with WiFi. The blog started gaining followers – other than family and friends – which spurred me on to write more. I got such a buzz from writing the posts, relaying tales of too-close-encounters with elephants, fraught bus journeys, gastronomic delights (to name a few) and illustrating them with photographs that I decided to keep it up when we returned home.
How do you fit your blogging around your full time job as a marketing executive?
It’s definitely been a lot trickier to blog whilst working full time. Often the last thing I want to do when I get home is get back in front of a computer screen. Plus, the writing inspiration and creativity that come from the traveller’s privileged position of being inundated by new and exciting daily experiences, in comparison to the routine 9-5 lifestyle means you have to think outside the box and look elsewhere for stimulus. Travel writing is something I’m passionate about, and so any free time I get I’m constantly jotting down ideas, pushing my blog on social media, writing for competitions and looking for ways to turn interesting weekends and getaways into blog material!
I meet so many women that have an ‘idea’ of starting a blog but struggle getting it off the ground, what advice would you give them?
WordPress is great for starting out with a blog – you can set one up very simply, for free and then see how you get on. Watching my number of followers rise, reading their comments and getting positive feedback from people I knew boosted my confidence and once I’d written a few articles, I really started getting into a pattern with it and writing became easier and easier. Look at other people’s blogs for inspiration, comment on theirs, find your own voice and be patient, it can take a while to build a following. Enjoy doing it!
What’s been your biggest highlight to date (let me guess, it has something to do with winning a very prestigious travel writing comp?!)
Definitely! I would quite happily write my blog just for the sheer enjoyment I get from doing it. However, I cannot tell you how unbelievably flattering it is when others appreciate and recognise my work. I recently won the Telegraph Just Back travel writing competition for a piece I wrote on hot air ballooning in France. It’s hugely exciting, confirms to me that perhaps I do have some talent in this field and is I hope, the beginning of many more accolades to come.
What’s the big vision?
The big vision is to make my name as a travel writer, to have articles commissioned and be able to make a living from my passion. To make my website an inspiring resource for budding travellers, to gain a name as an influential blogger and consequently a substantial following on my various social media channels.
You’re soon to be a mum, how do you think this has affected your attitude towards your career?
It definitely makes you reassert your career goals and make you look for ways in which you can work more flexibly and if possible, from home. I’m taking my maternity leave slightly earlier than most, due to the fact we are moving house, but I hope also to use this free-time as an opportunity to really focus on my writing for a few weeks before my life changes forever!
I have a few! They all encouraged me to break away from the norm, turn dreams into reality, take a sabbatical, start a blog…and change the course of my life. No regrets!
“It’s impossible” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. “It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the HEART.” (unknown)
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.” – Paulo Coelho
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”, William Ernest Henley