Thank you to all those who came along to our Writers Corner session on 6 April to discuss the intricacies of the various forms of travel writing. In general, we concluded that travel writing is a more complex and richer genre than one might think.
We easily filled to the time between 2pm and 4pm with relaxed conversation and a brief writing exercise.
The discussion was reasonably diverse, touching on the ethical issues in travel writing, cultural appropriation, outlets for writing and social media.
We also explored the role of travel writing as a means of improving the understanding of diverse human culture. Even the simplest forms of writing such as letters to family and friends can be valuable, enabling others to share experiences of new places.
While travel writing has many specific features it also shares many common features with other genres – good writing is good writing. The ability to enliven a reader’s senses with the aroma of the coffee, the bustle of the marketplace or the tranquillity of a meadow pond is important in all sorts of writing.
Outlets for writing are not confined to books and maps; the hip world of social media and the common practice of video logging or vlogging benefit from those same skills of storytelling, assembling the information, setting out the scene context for the reader or viewer and taking them on that journey. There is an evolving world of communication and travel documentaries that can be at the street level of detail.
It was also noted that there are opportunities to submit articles to a wide range of publications that use travel writing of some form or other (e.g., see https://www.thattravelblog.com/blog/10-publications-that-will-pay-you-for-travel-writing/).
There is even a travel writing association https://astw.org.au.
So, whether it is a letter (or email) to the grandchildren, or the script for a documentary on the cultural imperatives of a lost Amazonian tribe, good writing about one’s travels, especially when done in creative and engaging styles, helps make the world a better understood place.
Next month’s Writers Corner topic is tools of the trade. Everything from dictionaries to word processors to research resources will be on the table; processes and practices, tips and tricks … what are your favourites? Come along to Writers Corner with a view to share or a question ask on 4 May, 2pm at the Bunch of Grapes, 401 Pleasant St, Ballarat.