We took a trip to Llandudno last weekend to write a postcard from the North Walian resort for Telegraph Travel.
But it was also something of a personal journey.
I used to go to Llandudno on family holidays as a child — that’s me aged around five with my mum on the prom at the North Shore [pictured above].
This time I was back with my own two daughters for a UK seaside break after our original holiday plans were cancelled under lockdown.
But how would an old-school seaside resort shape up for two Tick Tock teens?
Here’s a taster of my story:
The collapse of air bridges has led to the North Wales coast enjoying a post-lockdown bonanza.
We find Landudno’s pebbly North Beach busy with rockpool paddlers, despite some rather menacing clouds over the Great Orme, and the cafés along Mostyn Street bustling with al-fresco diners seeking Cymru-sur-mer vibes.
“People are hungry for good food they don’t have to prepare and clean up afterwards,” says Michael Waddy, Executive Chef at the Empire Hotel.
The Chester Literature Festival was in full swing this week.
I was there on Friday to run a travel-writing workshop [pictured above] for future freelancers and career changers seeking to branch out.
Some planned to pitch ideas to magazines, others were looking to develop their voice online as a blogger.
I ran this workshop as a taster session but, given the interest on the day for a sold-out event, I will look at future workshops for the new year.
Meanwhile, as part of the session, I shared my top six travel-writing tips as follows:
People, not places
The best travel stories are not about places. They’re about the people who live in those places.
So talk to local people and weave this into your narrative. Nothing adds life to a story like direct speech.
Find a story
A lot of travel stories are very information led. But the stories that really stand out tell proper stories. So find a real story, get a proper angle, think about your readership. Then frame these elements in the context of a destination.
Get it right
Commissioning editors don’t have the time, nor the inclination, to correct your spelling, cut down your copy if you bust your word count and punctuate your sentences. Want more work? Then get it right.
Work with the medium
And not against it. Writing for print? You have the luxury of longer sentences and more descriptive language. But if you’re writing for online, then take a leaf from George Orwell’s book and keep the language more direct. People are increasingly reading your articles on mobile devices, so format for the screen.
Spot the openings
Publications thrive on regular sections and this is your way in, especially as a first-time contributor. Editors need to fill these sections and often to look to freelancers to plug the gaps. So, read, read and read some more.
Travel writing is a job. Treat it as such. You’re working as a specialist reporter, covering a niche area. You want to be regarded as a professional? Then act professionally. And expect to be paid …