On being a travel blogger and how I write

I’m part of a “blog hop” about how I write, thanks to the lovely Leyla at Women on the Road. Since I always explain that my route into blogging and social media all came about because I wanted to be a writer, I thought this was an interesting one to take part in!

Writing secrets of a travel blogger

If you’ve heard me talk about blogging, you may know that Not A Ballerina actually started out back when I was living in Europe and writing for travel magazines, both print and online, and one of my editors said a travel blog he knew was looking for a blogger, and he thought I’d be good for it. I really had no idea what a blog was, but started the job and enjoyed it, and figured out pretty soon I should have a blog of my own, too. And that’s where Not A Ballerina came from, way back in 2005. Not all bloggers come to blogging through writing – it satisfies lots of different needs and desires, I think – but that’s certainly where I came from. And now, on to the questions:

What am I writing at the moment?

So much. Apart from this blog and my social media blog, I’m editing a travel-related novel that I’m hoping to release next year (for fellow Japanophiles, it’s set in Japan!), and I’m putting the finishing touches on an e-book about reverse culture shock too. I also write a lot of to do lists!!

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

If I think about my blog writing, then I know I really strive to make it sound readable and conversational. I love talking about travel so much that I’d be happy to take each and every one of you down to the local cafe or pub and talk your ear off about my thoughts on travel (and hear yours too!), but since meeting up with all my readers is a bit of an impossibility, I think writing blog posts should sound like the next best thing. This is definitely something that has evolved over the years as I’ve come to better understand the blogging medium. Nine years ago nobody could tell me much about that at all!

Why do I write what I do?

I am stupidly passionate about what we can learn from travelling, and how seeing how other nationalities live can change our entire perspective on life, and I want to convince everyone of this. My hope is that my writing will encourage more people to take a chance on travel – especially the kind of travel where you get to meet the locals – and for those who can’t, to at least inspire them to think about the differences there are across the world and what we can learn from them.

How does my writing process work?

I used to be much more prescriptive about this, but now that I have a son and a husband and a business and (and and and!), I realise I have to write whenever I get the chance, and just keep writing until that chance stops. Right now is a classic example – I’m home today with my four-year-old son who decided he wanted to do a big bunch of drawings at his little desk next to mine, so while he’s doing that I’m grabbing the chance to write a blog post. It may not be finished in one go, and it may be interrupted by four-year-old-style questions, but eventually, it will be completed. I can’t be precious about writing at a certain time each day or under certain conditions. I do try to let my writing sit for a day or two so I can give it an edit with fresh eyes, but that doesn’t always happen, I admit.

When I’m travelling, I tend to keep lots of notes about what I see and do, sometimes more than others – earlier this year in Penang I had my evenings to myself once my son went to sleep and I filled a book; the year before in Europe, my husband was there and we were usually staying with friends or relatives and I was lucky to scratch out a few key phrases before I was desperate for bed. It’s always different, but the constant is that I’m always writing, or composing writing in my head at the very least.

And introducing some great travel bloggers:

Since this is a blog hop my job is to nominate some other great writers to pass it on to.

Linda Fairbairn of Journey Jottings

Linda of Journey Jottings

Linda at Journey Jottings

I have long been a huge fan of Linda’s gorgeous sketches and tales at Journey Jottings and I often highlight her very cool sketch/write/pic combo travel journal ideas when I teach my travel writing courses. Best of all I got to meet Linda in person a year ago at Problogger and even better will see her again next week. To summarise Linda:

Linda Fairbairn founded Journey Jottings in 2003 when she developed the idea of combining a ‘Map’ with a ‘Journal’. She is now working on a method of Story Mapping to highlight your holiday memories forever.

Dianne of Travelletto

Dianne of Travelletto

Dianne at Travelletto

Dianne’s site has been on my radar for a while but it’s only recently I’ve finally got to meet Dianne, since she’s also based in Perth! We’re going to Problogger together too so I am looking forward to catching up with her even more as we have heaps in common. To summarise Dianne:

Dianne Bortoletto is the voice behind Travelletto. Travel and great food are two of Dianne’s passions. New experiences and discoveries are her driving force; she craves adventure. She’s a people watcher, a storyteller, and she loves to write.  A PR professional by day, Dianne has added freelance food and travel writer to her bow and has just about completed a draft of her first novel.

Jo Castro of Zigazag

Jo of Zigazag

Jo at Zigazag

Jo is a long-term buddy of mine now and my roomie at past and present Problogger conferences! She lives a couple of hours south of me and has travelled the world Extensively, yes with a capital E! Some words about Jo:

Jo writes ZigaZag as a useful resource for anyone wanting to live or holiday in Western Australia. She also tells other Aussie travel tales gives world travel tips and stories; she also runs courses in blogging in and around Bunbury.

Keep an eye on these three lovely ladies who will be bringing you their own thoughts on travel blogging and writing in the next few weeks!


Do you write? What’s your secret to having a good writing day?



  1. Your current writing projects sound intriguing Amanda ~ a travel related novel set in Japan!
    Plus an e-book –
    You’re right about having to simply grab any odd moment and use it to the max as life isn’t prescriptive once you have little ones around!
    Thanks so much for tagging me in this blog hop…
    Now how do I approach travel writing?! 😉

    • Thanks Linda – I just have to find those extra few hours to get my writing projects actually to completion – yes, it is a juggling act at times! Looking forward to seeing your post, with your very creative mind I’m intrigued!

  2. I loved this very honest and readable account of why and how you write as a travel blogger. I think it’s so real. You’ve not hyped up travel writing, but rather shown how sometimes it’s necessary to roll with the punches to keep things going and still ‘feed the itch’. Your tips were great reminders to just keep writing when life takes over, but also never to forget that for people like us it’s words which drive us. Words are the spark that make our lives worthwhile. Thank you for nominating me too. I’m going to have fun with this one 🙂

    • Thanks Jo – yes, I don’t feel there is too much to hype about my writing life these days, I must admit!!! But I still do love it. Can’t wait to see your post, I know it’ll be a good one!!

  3. I enjoyed reading this….but I have SOOO many questions to ask you about your travels. I will try to get as many out next week as I can!!! 🙂

    • Yay Kristy!! Are you sure you know what you’re doing though – once you get me started, it’s tricky to get me to stop … but I know I’ve asked you so many questions about healthy living and you are probably sick of answering them so it must be your turn 🙂


  1. […] Amanda, from Not a Ballerina (there’s a story there!) emailed asking me to join the hop, skip and a jump from travel blog to travel blog where, having been tagged, we in turn pass the baton on to more travel blog writers and so create ever increasing ripples out through the blogosphere as each relates just what, why and how they create content for their travel blog. […]

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