Thursday 1 May 2014


Discussing the Gallipoli 2015 expedition with a travel provider today, he commented that it had taken some time for all of my stories to be published from the last trip he'd facilitated for me - "But that's what happens, when you're working with freelances," he finished, with a refreshing understanding of the situation. The upside, to which he also referred, is that freelances produce far more stories from a famil than does a journalist tied to just one publication. Swings and roundabouts, in other words. It was such a relief to hear him say this, because one of the awkward things about being a freelance travel writer is the understandable eagerness of the PR person at the tourism operation who naturally wants to see a return on their generosity as soon as possible once a trip has been completed.
Sadly for them, and for the freelance caught in the middle, once the story has been filed, it's entirely up to the editor as to when it sees the light of day. It could be next week, or it could be next year, literally. It all depends on advertising, space, budget, themes and what other stories have recently run, and nagging the editor achieves very little other than building up a bad association with seeing your name in their inbox. (It's not just the tourism people who are disappointed: it's an inconvenient fact that writers are generally paid on publication, which means a long time between meals.)
So it was a pleasant surprise to hear from my #1 editor today that he's decided to concentrate on clearing out all the old stories that have been sitting in his files. I don't know about his other writers, but he's got a dozen or so stories of mine, the oldest of which date back to June and July 2012 - so long ago that I'd forgotten them entirely, and when I went back to re-read them it was almost as if someone else had written them. It'll be good to see them in print, hopefully within the next couple of months: the Gawler wilderness in South Australia and the Norfolk Broads, plus the Hump Ridge Track, Juneau, Alaska, South Africa, the Rockies, the Catlins, Queensland... The PR people will be happy at last.

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