Now that I am officially an Alumni of MatadorU, I wanted to write a little something about their travel writing course. When I first heard about the course, an online “class” that helps you build yourself as a travel writer, I was very skeptical. However, after doing a lot of research and talking to faculty and students, I decided that the $350 that the course costs would be a good investment.
Was I disappointed? Not at all. In fact, I was amazed at how hands-on the faculty are, despite all having their own personal blogs, editorial positions, and side projects (I barely have time to eat managing this blog and freelancing!). No matter how small or large my questions were, they always got answered.
There are 12 lessons in the course, each containing a lesson, an assignment (that will double as a worthwhile post for your blog!), and recommended readings. These are not like the recommended readings you were forced to do in high school or college; they are actually extremely informative articles that will enlighten your travel write venture. Lesson topics range from how to write different types of articles, how to pitch articles, how to build your blog, how to create a media kit, how to handle press trips, how to freelance full time, how to make travel writing a reality, who to submit pieces to, and a lot more. All of the assignments get critiqued by faculty and peers in the MatadorU Forums, as well, which really helps to build a sense of community. I have made many blogger friends through the course, some I hope to collaborate on projects with at some point. Moreover, there is a writing lab each week for you to get any piece, whether it be MatadorU related or not, critiqued by specified MatadorU faculty (and sometimes even guest editors!).
One of my favorite parts about this course, aside from the wealth of the information, is the market blog. Julie, the lead faculty member, regularly posts jobs, contests, press trips, and more in the market blog for students to apply for. I have learned about many different publications that accept articles from freelance travel writers and also got a well-paying position as a travel blogger for an online travel publication.
Even after you graduate the course, there are pro-modules you can do as well as resources, such as the market blog, the community forums, a magazine list of paying publications, and faculty support, that you can use. It has also been helpful for me to actually go through the course again, as there is so much information that reading it only once through is not enough.
So was signing up for the travel writing course worth the money? Well, I have not only been able to build a professional website (this being someone who asked my internship advisor how to turn on the company computer), get a travel writing position for an online publication, and pitch successful queries to editors, I have been making money regularly and can now successfully navigate through social media to build my blog following an monetize. The course is an investment, and if you are serious about taking travel writing to the next level and also seeing that it really is possible to make money on your travels than sign-up for MatadorU.