WEB EXTRA: Travel writer offers advice to aspiring authors

To be successful, aspiring travel writers need to be determined and must develop their experiential writing skills, a GW alumnus who has been successful in the field told about 70 people in the Marvin Center Monday.

Douglas E. Morris offered some secrets to success in the world of travel writing to mostly students in the latest of the “How Do I Become A .” series sponsored by Class Council, the Career Center and the alumni office. Past speakers include an astronaut and an investigative reporter.

Delivering tips, suggestions and encouragement, Morris explained how students can go from writing in their blogs to getting published – the transition from “fun to profit,” as he described it.

“It’s growing massively, all over the world,” Morris said in reference to the genre of travel writing. Morris, who does most of his writing on Italy, has spent 10 years as a travel writer and has had six books published; he will have two more coming out within the next year.

Some students at Monday evening’s event seemed attracted to Morris’ profession.

“Sounds like a really great opportunity to make money from something that’s great anyway,” said senior Rajani Prasad. The feeling was mutual for students such as senior Petra Zdenkova. “It seems like fun job. Not your typical 9 to 5,” she said.

Morris graduated from the University with a master’s degree in business administration in 1985.

Placing emphasis on developing writing skills, Morris explained the need to create a track record and grow as a writer.

“If you want to be a travel writer and you don’t write, it’s like wanting to be a basketball player and not playing basketball. It’s not going to happen,” he said.

Morris, however, didn’t make the career path seem easy. His anecdotal speech addressed the difficulties of a career in writing.

“You’re going to get rejected over and over again,” he said. “It’ll take you a while to get there.”

Morris urged students to “keep plugging away (and) keep writing,” even when the work doesn’t get published.

“You’re not going to get paid for it,” he said laughingly, “but you’re going to build a track record.”

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