It Doesn't Hurt to Ask Works for Me
If you are fortunate like me, I grew up with parents who taught me manners that have served me well throughout my life. These fundamentals included telling the truth. Say thank you and shake hands with people while looking them in the eye. Make sure you learn to ask questions when you don't understand something. And reminding me often, it doesn't hurt to ask.
I was reminded so often when I wrote my first book, I used the title, It Doesn't Hurt to Ask: It's All About Communication. Imagine the honor I felt when that book, dedicated to my parents, was named Best Book Finalist by USA Book News.
I Owe My Travel Writing Success to Three Things
When the pandemic started, I would never have dreamed I would change my career to become a travel writer. Plus, who was I to think my writing ability would open doors to beautiful luxury hotels, spas, and incredible cities living in the shadows of larger cities?
What is Travel Writing? How do you get into the field?
a. Signed up for Travel Writing Course and Joined a Group
Honestly, I didn't have any idea. Thus, I joined a group of travel writers on Facebook and took a travel writing weekend course on Zoom. If you are wondering what these entities are, they have changed ownership, and I cannot recommend them in good conscience.
The course gave me the fundamentals and helped me understand it appeared I had what it takes IF I used the skills I presently had and used them in unison. Oh, and I needed to pack a lot of patience and the ability to handle the word, No.
b. Adopted a Mentor
I watched a woman, Mary Charlebois, in the Facebook Group, very willing to share the knowledge she had gained from her 8-plus years of travel writing and editing travel sites.
Sending a private message resulted in a return message. Let me give you a call. What is your phone number?
I smile as I write, for that exchange has resulted in a beautiful friendship. Mary's mentorship has taken me to levels today that would have taken years to learn on my own.
c. Palm Springs, California, was and still is my focus.
Palm Springs is my home, and I am happy I decided to start the Palm Springs Insider Guide. If you listen to any travel writer, you probably will discover they started their career writing for free about places near their home.
Once I had the site up, I started writing about my city and looking around for publications that wanted to share what I saw and did in this beautiful desert town.
I Use the Thought It Doesn't Hurt to Ask Often
Recently, I read an article about why you shouldn't utilize this phrase. After reading it, I understand what the author means. It doesn't work well if these two things are present.
a. You are in a bad mood and treat the person in front of you or online poorly.
b. If you don't have any track record of proving why you would be the right person. In the case of a travel writer, asking for comped hotel, dining, or travel accommodations with no published stories is sure to result in a no. That's why I encourage you to write for free until you have some articles in various publications.
With none of the two caveats in my life, I recently asked for and received another night's lodging and funds for gas for a road trip not previously offered. In another ask, I graciously thanked the person turning me down and added them to my contacts list, for one never knows the answer next time could easily be yes.
You have some of my ideas about how I got to this point in my life. I never dreamed I would go to Coachella and write about its fantastic art or have a special tour at the Acrisure. Or attend the opening party for Desert X and the 5-star resort Sec-he in downtown Palm Springs.
Keep building relations, and most importantly, do what you say you will do. Trust is built by following up and doing what you say you will do. And remember, don't be afraid to ask.
Kathy Condon is an award-winning author, journalist, and travel writer living in Palm Springs, California. firstname.lastname@example.org