Life as an Incompetent Cruise Travel Writer
Written by: Kuki
More than nine years ago, with a burgeoning cruise industry, Anne Campbell and Paul Motter began a venture they were calling CruiseMates.com. At it’s beginning I was invited onboard and given the opportunity to begin putting my cruise ramblings “to paper“. It was a rather odd change of direction in my life. Though I had spent the previous 20 years in the hotel, restaurant and bar businesses - nobody knew my previous history ; years earlier when I was making decisions about college, I initially thought I wanted to study journalism. Ultimately I abandoned that idea, and area of study. Fast forward 38 years or so, and suddenly at the age of 49 I was being paid to write. An oddity.
I began reminiscing about my career at CruiseMates recently because of a most pleasant and most flattering email I received . The writer told me they have been “reading me” since CruiseMates began. It really didn’t even matter if they were telling me they enjoyed my articles, or were crucifying me for a writing style that was better suited to washroom walls. What mattered was that someone was reading what I wrote.
I know there are literally tens of thousands of people a day visiting CruiseMates.com, and I can reason that the owners of CruiseMates are bright enough people that they would have dismissed me long ago if none of those visitors were reading my articles. Yet, I am not privy to those numbers.
Of course I prefer to think the reason those numbers aren’t shared with me is they are so high —- the numbers, not the owners — that they know if they shared the numbers I’d demand a larger salary. My head would swell, and I’d suddenly demand a salary equivalent to that of the guy making the fries at McDonald’s.
So hearing from people who actually read my articles is reassuring. It confirms to me that I’m not just constantly talking to myself. Writing articles for the medium of the Internet is something I’ve become used to. But sometimes, with no proof people on the other end of the monitor are reading, it can leave me wondering.
I get a considerable amount of email asking me cruise questions (which is a bad way to go because of SPAM filters), and many requests each week asking for work on my cruise ship (don‘t I wish I owned one), but it’s rare to get “fan mail”.
I write very much like I talk… not a Pulitzer Prize winning style to be sure. But, rather than seeking literary awards, I write to try to attempt to connect with people, to share my experiences and to report on what experiences others may encounter on their cruises.
I have to say I like my job at CruiseMates, where most of the time I’m encouraged to write about whatever cruise related topic I choose. And I enjoy doing the Virtual Cruise Reports; which I often reread later to entertain myself. No doubt they’d be a better read, if like my feature articles and reviews, they went through a Copy Editor’s hands first, but there’s a certain amount of fun to be had “flying by the seat of my pants” , writing at 2 or 3 A.M..
Now with the addition of the blog format to CruiseMates, and my getting to write a weekly blog where people can leave direct comments, I am enjoying the interaction of the blog format. It reminds me of some of the conversations I have with my wife; sometimes I say something and she responds, other times she rolls her eyes and walks into another room mumbling.
There’s hundreds of people who read my cruise ramblings, who think they are quantifiably more qualified than me to do my job. Of those hundreds, there’s probably thousands who are. My saving grace is they wouldn’t work as cheap as me.
During my travels I also meet many people who tell me they are envious when I mention what I do. It’s just one of those jobs which is perceived to be a “glamour job”, reminding me somewhat of my years in the restaurant business. Everyone wants to own a restaurant, thinking it somehow “puts your name up in lights“. Having been there/done that, I can state emphatically that it takes a tremendous amount of work. As it is for most travel writers. They work hard, spending a great deal of time researching, formatting, editing and re-editing, to complete their stories. Not me… I’m incompetent.
However, thanks to so many of you, my incompetence is accepted, and even rewarded. As I approach a decade of doing this, I just have to say how much I appreciate you continuing to read my ramblings, and for not telling the boss I’m not very good at my job.
With that appreciation, I want to wish all our readers, and members of the CruiseMates community and Staff a very Happy Holiday Season!!
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Posted: December 23rd, 2008 under Kuki.