Help this freelance writer in Asia figure out his next career move!
November 3, 2011 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I’m a writer, doing OK in a small pond, but I’m looking for a bigger pond to swim in. Help me figure out my next career move.

I’m a Filipino writer based in Manila. I’d like to do more work for publications around the region. I’m breaking out, bit by bit; I’m currently an guide, and I’ve only just recently broken through to inflight magazines for regional airlines.

I have a strong (I think) portfolio in the travel writing department, but I’ve done good work writing features for local English-language glossy parenting mags, lad mags, and health magazines. I want to use this work as a stepping-stone for work in Singapore or elsewhere.

My strengths, as I perceive them: I’m a good writer, I’m well-versed in social media, and I think I socialize well in person, despite a tendency towards introversion. (People don’t believe me when I say I’m introverted; I just think I’m good at “faking it till I make it”.)

I’m sure I don’t want to be just a travel writer for the foreseeable future. But I’m honestly confused as to my next steps. What should I do next? What’s a logical progression from the work I’m doing now? And what should I be doing to get there?

I think I’m a good writer, but the problem is I don’t have a meaningful yardstick to help gauge my career path right now. I used to have mentors and peers when I was an advertising copywriter; those do not exist at this point in my career, or I don’t know who to look up to right now. I don’t know how to compare notes with other writers in the travel industry, or other writers, full-stop. I don’t know how I can leverage my contacts in the regional hospitality industry to climb the ladder, so to speak. I don’t even know what ladder to climb!

Here are the things I’ve thought of doing. Write a nonfiction book. Break into other travel writing markets, specializing in Southeast Asia destinations. Do PR for the regional hospitality industry (though that would mean quitting my gig). Leverage my existing site to become a sort of authority/commentator on the biz. Be a social media consultant for hotels or airlines.

None of this is clear to me yet, though. And given that I’m in my mid-30s and have a growing family under my charge, I’m thinking that time is running short. Help me figure this out, please.

(I’m keeping this anonymous because my username leads right to my real name on Google and elsewhere; I’d rather not agonize about my career in public. Throwaway email address:
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think the next logical step for you is to find an agent. A literary agent.
posted by snsranch at 5:53 PM on November 3, 2011

I'm sort of in the same position. Having blogged for 3 1/2 years on travel and life in Korea, it's brought a wonderful number of other opportunities - some of them paid. Still, bigger fish in smaller pond.

For the time being, I'm pursuing the 'get-out-there, have-fun, meet-people' idea. I've also finished version 2.0 of a non-fiction book, produced the content for an app, and may well be planning an event with a friend. I've been meaning to connect with more writers / travel writers, and you may well be one to chat with. If you like, MeFiMail or e-mail is in my profile.

There really isn't a 'meaningful yardstick' here, although I submit that balancing professional growth with personal growth is paramount.

The question I would answer is whether you seek a full-time job, an income, to become an authority. The ladder to climb is a bit different in every case.
posted by chrisinseoul at 8:36 PM on November 3, 2011

I have seen quite a lot of journos in Asia turn to the 'dark side' of PR/analyst firms/in-house. The money is certainly better although whther the work is as rewarding I do not know.
posted by fatmouse at 7:10 AM on November 4, 2011

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