Not long after opening a travel agency with her husband in 1995, Connie Motz was approached by a local newspaper interested in having her contribute a monthly travel column. While that initial job didn’t pay, she began applying to job postings for travel writers and landed her first paid writing gig doing work for an airline-related website.
She’s now been freelance writing for almost 18 years. She specializes as a travel writer, but over the years she’s written on many different topics. “I take pride on being able to cover any topic and weirdly enough, I love the research aspect of writing,” she admits. She notes that she’s always felt the need to write: even as a child, she kept a diary and wrote poems for her high school yearbook. When she left a retail management career to become a Certified Travel Consultant in 1989, she says she felt the “progression to travel writing was a natural fit.” Today, she’s a member of the International Travel Writers Alliance and the Travel Writers Association.
For Connie, the best part of freelancing is the freedom to work anywhere, whether from the comfort of her own home, or from a travel destination. “It’s very satisfying getting paid for doing something you love, I just wish I could work it into a full time career – but there’s always someday.”
Connie also really enjoys the perks that come with travel writing. “A few years ago I was invited to go on a press trip to Sandpoint, Idaho, and my husband and our two teenage boys got to tag along; it was amazing! We did winery tours, stayed in a gorgeous condo on Lake Pend Oreille, mountain-biked at Schweitzer Resort, explored Silverwood Theme Park and did an interview with a local chef who prepared a private meal for the four of us.” Another of her favourite jobs involved a U.S. national magazine five-page feature on Costa Rica that came about from a previous pet travel article she’d been asked to write for the same publication: “I love the jobs that come to me – the ones that I don’t have to look for – they’re always the most fun.”
On the other hand, she finds the hardest part of freelancing is earning enough money to make it worth her time: “The downturn in the economy has also played a part in finding decent paying clients and in keeping the work coming in on a steady basis,” she explains. “Many clients are very budget conscious so when they may have historically purchased ten articles, now they’re only looking for one or two. And I really, really dislike freelance writing bidding sites where clients want to contract a 500-word article for an abhorrent $1 payment.”
After losing her laptop when her backpack was stolen during a trip to Costa Rica, Connie invested in a Macbook Air, which she relies on: “I truly couldn’t live without my Mac now.” She also swears by Moleskine lined reporter notebooks, which she has been using for decades.
When it comes to improving one’s writing skill, Connie recommends reading everything you can get your hands on: “If it’s bad writing, you can learn from other mistakes or you can hone your craft from classic writers like Hemingway.” She also likes to take plenty of notes, since “you never know when you need a scenario or details to work from.” To those with a passion for writing who are just starting out in the profession, she advises: “stick with it. You never know when your big break article will be just around the corner.”
You can learn more about Connie on her professional website and her blogs, My Favorite Things and Rent Our Costa Rica Condo. You can also find her on LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. A cancer survivor of almost two years now, she is an avid supporter of the BC Cancer Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and micro-lending organizations including Kiva and Vittana.