I began this site just before leaving Scotland, several years ago now, to head off on indefinite adventures. At the time, the majority of my income came from freelance travel content writing. The plan had been to use Not A Travel Writer as a typical travel blog — to share destinations I visited, talk about what to do there, what to eat, take lots of pretty photos, and generally make more money from affiliate and advertising schemes, perhaps with a healthy dollop of press trips thrown into the mix.
That did not happen and, one day soon, I’ll finish the essay I intend to share about why not. It is not a simple answer.
Although I also own alexandermcrow.com (and it redirects here) I kept Not A Travel Writer, partly because I was fond of the name and partly because it makes a lot of SEO sense — having both the words ‘travel’ and ‘writer’ (and, therefore, ‘write’) within it.
Every month, I write at least one free newsletter and send it out into the ether. Within each, there are several things which regularly appear — I usually open with a piece of nature writing, before a short hello, which gives news about me and my location, for example, before moving to updates on fiction giveaways, promotions, review opportunities and so on. Below this section, I vary what I share. Sometimes I talk about what I have read, watched, or listened to, at others I will discuss forthcoming fiction, or current events. In short, the newsletter is an eclectic mixture — deliberately styled and advertised as a writer’s notebook, all those things I see and do and witness, which often are then chewed over and turned into stories.
The site, Not A Travel Writer, is the same.
Here, you will find pieces of travel writing (not travel blogging, a distinction which I will return to in the previously-mentioned essay), nature writing, personal memoir, talk of works-in-progress, of the writer’s craft, or discussion of what is now well known as bushcraft — the outdoor skills and knowledge which allow you to comfortably exist for extended periods of time in the wilder parts of the world. Which I have done, on more than one occasion. There are essays, and there is journalism and pieces of thought. Some of my non-fiction started life as notes and sketches, before morphing into longer essays, before being paused, as perhaps a book may be better?
Time is the currency within which a writer works, and the spending and allocation of it is crucial to development and progress. It can be difficult to know what to share and when, what to work on, what to shelve, and what to return to. I have imported a number of my posts and articles from over the years, brought them from now-mothballed or defunct sites, or places I no longer felt comfortable, like tumblr, or substack. It shouldn’t need mentioning, but owning my own work is also important.
The process of being a fiction writer goes hand-in-hand with being a non-fiction writer. The opposite is not always the case — and this is something often overlooked. To write stories which connect with others, whether to inspire, terrify, thrill, or touch, means understanding people, understanding the world we move through and the cues to which we react. This is a noble tradition, the fiction writer who also shares non-fiction thoughts, and one I wholeheartedly endorse and subscribe to. For this reason, you can expect all manner of things here — just have a look at the category menu to the right for examples.
As with my free newsletter, Not A Travel Writer is a writer’s notebook, full of the things I see and do and think. For example, it contains nature, bushcraft, travel and essays. Check the category menu for more.