Travel tales

A Peek Behind the Scenes with the Blog Hop

Laptop and notepad

I don’t normally blog about blogging, but I’m always interested in getting a glimpse behind the scenes into bloggers’ real lives – is it all glamour and excitement, or are they trying to write a post whilst cooking dinner and trying to get the washing on too? I was nominated by the lovely Clare from Need Another Holiday to share some insights into my writing process as part of the ‘blog hop’. Blogging is very solitary a lot of the time, so it’s been fascinating to read other blogger’s answers to see what they’re working on and what inspired them to start blogging. And if you have a blog I’d love to hear how your writing process works too (particularly if you have a proper process; I’m in need of some tips!).

What am I working on/writing?

At the moment I’m trying to get my end of year wrap-up posts finished off so that they are all ready to go and I can have a proper Christmas break. Each year I look back on my last year of travel and my favourite photos, and give a preview of my plans for next year. It’s been a busy year for me on the travel front and this year’s posts are a bit longer than usual, so I’ve still got a way to go. It’s a nice chance to stop and reflect on all of the things that have happened over the last 12 months – whether that’s in travel, on the blog or in life – as well as looking forward to what’s coming next.

Then in between all the usual Christmassy things (i.e. lots of eating and drinking wine by the fire) I’m hoping to get organised before the start of the new year. I have a load of photos from the last year that I need to finish sorting and editing. Also after my blog redesign I still have lots of photos to resize in my old posts, and as I’ve been going through my older articles I’ve been checking and updating links and prices so they’re all current. So that should keep me busy well into January!

Tree decoration

Festive decorations at a Christmas event at Cowley Manor

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I think I represent the ‘normal’ traveller – I’m not travelling permanently on a shoestring budget, but I’m not jetting around in first class either. Travel is my passion but I have other priorities in life too, so I want to get the most I can out of the time and money I have available. My blog slogan is “part-time travel, full-time travel obsession” and that really sums up how I approach life. I wouldn’t want to travel all the time and love having a home base and spending time with my family and friends, but I try to bring travel into my life as much as possible, whether that’s visiting places near home or long-haul.

There’s this quote by William Morris that says “Have nothing in your house that you don’t know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” which is what I try to achieve on the blog. I try to make my posts look beautiful with lots of photos, but they also have to be useful. Whether that’s by teaching my readers something new or giving them the information to recreate a trip themselves. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a post about an amazing place then having to Google it to find out how to get there or how much it costs. I want to make it easy for people to follow in my footsteps if they read about somewhere they’d like to visit.

Ephesus

Juggling camera and notebook at Ephesus

Why do I write what I do?

Back when I was a child I always wrote stories and plays – usually conscripting my family as supporting cast members. Later on I spent ten years working in publishing, but it was on the editorial and design side. So blogging gave me the chance to create my own words rather than just editing other people’s. I kept thinking I’d like to write a novel one day, but I’ve found myself more drawn to factual writing.

I’ve always been the travel planner amongst my friends and have picked up so many tips over 20+ years of travel that blogging is the perfect way for me to share them. I love to get across my passion for the places that I’ve visited and inspire people to get out there and see the world. It’s also a great way to remember the travelling I’ve done. I kept a paper diary when I did my RTW trip and love reading it back and reliving my adventures, and my blog is an extension of that (albeit with better photos and less dodgy dating stories!).

Riad Dar Maya Essaouira

My favourite writing spot this year – the rooftop of our riad in Essaouira

How does my writing process work?

I’m not sure I’d really describe it as any sort of proper process! I have a list of ideas for posts I’d like to write, which I add to after every trip, and a vague schedule of what I plan to post for the next month or so. Though what usually happens is I’ll come up with a new idea that I’ll get excited about and can’t wait to publish, so end up constantly rearranging the list. While I’m travelling I jot down notes and thoughts about things I see and do, but I try to make the most of my travel time so don’t usually write it up until I’m back home.

I write on my laptop, usually with a cat battling for the prime lap position. I tend to organise the photos for my posts first up as a visual reminder that brings me back to the place. Then I’ll do some research, checking dates and facts so I know the details are right before I get started. And then I finally get around to writing. Usually it’s a bit all over the place – sometimes I start with the middle of a post and write the beginning last. I edit as I go along and once it’s finished I try to leave it overnight then go back and tidy things up, with a final proofread before it goes live. Then I just need to do all the extras like sharing on social media, creating Pinterest images, replying to comments… no wonder I struggle to find time to do any work!

Bryce Canyon

Soaking up the views at Bryce Canyon in the USA

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Browsing the Atlas
    December 20, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    It is interesting to see behind-the-scenes of other travel bloggers. The writing process fascinates me because no two people take the exact same approach and it doesn’t seem to matter a bit. In the end, we’re all successful and happy. 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Exactly – there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to creative activities like writing, though I’m always fascinated by people who have a proper system (mainly as I’d love to be one of them!).

  • Reply
    ifollowislands
    December 20, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Great post Lucy! It always looks so easy when you read other travel blogs but it’s refreshing to hear that in fact a lot of hard work and dedication goes into it! I have been struggling to stick to any posting schedule and even took a break for a month because my blog constantly reminded of what I hadn’t been doing (which should never be the case).

    There’s tons of other travel blogs out there and what makes me come back to yours is your writing style. It’s not trying to be fashionable or cool, it’s just “normal” with some luxury or budget thrown in and lots of great destinations. We don’t need another Lonely Planet with photoshopped pictures but honest blog posts with gorgeous, real photos 🙂 Keep up the great work!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks so much, that’s really great to hear! I totally understand what you say about how tough it is to follow a posting schedule – I’ve taken a few breaks when I just felt overwhelmed by it all, it’s good to keep posting regularly but so much better to post great things you love to write about rather than feeling obligated. Here’s to a great 2015 for you too!

  • Reply
    Suzanne Jones
    December 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Loved this insight into your blogging regime Lucy – interesting that we have some similar ways. Thank you so much for the nomination and I hope to participate although I’m off to Vietnam straight after Christmas – come to think of it that’s something to do on the flight!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 22, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks Suzanne, would love to read yours too if you get the chance – and enjoy Vietnam, sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic trip!

  • Reply
    Vlad
    December 21, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Like you said, our writing process is really similar. 🙂 You always inspire me and I love reading your posts week after week! Here’s to many awesome trips (and posts) in 2015! 😀

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 22, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks so much Vlad – and hope you have a fantastic 2015 both in travel and on the blog too!

  • Reply
    thebritishberliner
    December 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I love your insight and your creative process Lucy. I don’t mind reading about behind-the-scenes of blogging as far more people than we think are really interested, but are scared to ask, and it’s intriguing to see how similar or different we are! I wish I could say that I’m as organised with my thoughts as I am in the classroom LOL! However, like yourself, I already have the ideas and use photographs to get the story out. I also like the way you describe your blog as “part-time travel, full-time travel obsession.” Likewise!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      I think you’re right, it’s really interesting to hear how people go about blogging as that’s the bit you never see – just the polished end result not the mess that comes before it!

  • Reply
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    December 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Fascinating to learn more about the background to your blog Lucy! Sounds like you very much deserve that drink by the fire this Christmas! I could very much relate to what you were saying about how you’re a”normal travel” not travelling on either extreme of the spectrum and also enjoying the perks of a “regular” llife. Merry Christma 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks, I’ve got the wine lined up ready! I think us normal travellers are probably the biggest group if not the most vocal (we probably need a better name to start with!). Hope you have a really lovely Christmas too and a great 2015.

  • Reply
    restlessjo
    December 22, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Nice to know you’ve kept Suze occupied for the flight, Lucy 🙂 Have a fabulous Christmas! You sound quite organised to me.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 22, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks Jo – the organisation is definitely there in theory, but the reality doesn’t quite match up! Hope you have a lovely Christmas too.

  • Reply
    Rebeca Briceño
    December 31, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I just have two months blogging, but it’s nice to realize that my “method” is not bad, it’s similar to yours and I always feet it was a little bit messy, until today haha. Nice to know that someone with lots of more experience than me do the same, so it works! 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Haha, yes even after three years my methods aren’t any less messy! Best of luck with your blog for 2015.

  • Reply
    Kathryn Burrington
    January 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Belated thanks for the nomination Lucy. My cat most definitely thinks she should take prime lap position over my laptop and she’s known to get quite grumpy if I’m typing rather than paying her attention. Think it might be a good exercise to consider how and why I blog etc so will try and get this done soon. Have a date with the tax man’s website which better take priority though.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks Kathryn, yes my cat sees the laptop as his nemesis too, I keep expecting to come back one day and find it knocked onto the floor! Look forward to reading about your blogging process too.

  • Reply
    Maddie
    January 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I love that quote from William Wallace 🙂 Great to see an insight into how you manage this lovely blog, something I need to learn how to do more effectively in 2015!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      I need to get a bit more consistent in 2015 – I have the occasional week when I have all my posts written in advance and am feeling smug, but most of the time it’s a last minute panic to get anything up on time!

  • Reply
    cotswoldviews
    January 7, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    As an writing ‘student’ on the #Blogging101 course, it was a thrill to find a Reader recommendation of someone I already ‘know’ from Twitter (I’m @SueKelsoRyan). Still more interesting to find you’ve written some insights into the writing process. We must have that coffee very soon …

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 8, 2015 at 11:24 am

      How funny! Yes we definitely should. Good luck with the #Blogging101 course and welcome to the world of blogging (be prepared to get sucked in!).

  • Reply
    Madhu
    January 25, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Enjoyed going behind the scenes with you Lucy. Blogging is such an addiction, that I wonder how I get any work done as well 🙂 Love your selection of photos.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 28, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks Madhu, I really can’t imagine what I would do with all my free time if I didn’t blog!

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