If those sweet rhymes aren’t a testament to my mad writing skills, then I don’t know what is.
I’ve finally finished the MatadorU Travel Writing Course (although I still haven’t completed all the assignments), so I figured I would share my thoughts with my love circle of readers. Gather ’round, grab a cushion. Dutch tinned butter biscuits, anyone?
For those who don’t know, MatadorU is Matador Network’s travel writing school. There’s 12 chapters loaded with information about everything from monetizing your blog to making your storytelling voice come to life. As a current student, you even have access to extra material like Bonus Chapters.
With my educational background, I’m fairly up to speed with all the writing stuff. Personally, it was the “life” skills I needed the most: how to be my own entrepreneur, SEO, juggling the tiny nitty-gritty details of freelance writing, how to approach advertisers, how to reuse dryer lint to knit socks, etc. That’s the sort of thing you never learn in school, how to function in society as a caffeinated, tripped-out travel writer. Also, colour coordination.
That being said, after the launch of this blog, my roommate approached me to say he was impressed with how well my writing has progressed. I think this can be largely attributed to a newfound confidence in my writing, influenced by my new connections and experience.
Okay, so you’re all thinking I might be biased (just a smidgeon), considering I now work with Matador Network as an associate editor. And yes, I’m an affiliate, so clicking that beautiful banner in the ad column will help your fellow ginger out tremendously. But I even gush about Matador to my friends while we’re out having drinks. My friends will be checking out men’s butts and I’m all, “Dude, I read this fascinating article today about travel being our existential need.”
And that’s probably why I haven’t had a date since May.
Also, I’ve already taken a travel writing course. In 2008, I took a six-week online travel writing program with Alberta’s Athabasca University. I don’t want to bash this program, because it was definitely a good experience and I learned a lot, but I have not since talked to any of the students or the professors. There were no “life” skills involved, and the whole thing lacked any sort of community spirit.
the MatadorU Travel Writing Course however, is an incredible way to make connections. I have befriended both students and editors from all over the world. I’ve enjoyed watching my peers find their footing, whether it’s Abbie being interviewed at The Travel Nerd, or seeing Amiee’s site grow and gain followers. I even exchange emails with some, like we’re pen-pals. In such a short amount of time, I’ve set myself up with future couches to crash on and houses to trash.
Even I have been blown away with how far I’ve come. I think I registered for the course in August or September, and by December I’ve been published a few times, hired as an editor, and I’ve launched my own website (which, by the way, I’m having incredible fun with).
When I joined Matador a year or two ago, I was hooked because everyone was so freaking supportive. We’re like a religious sect over there. I’m pretty sure if you posted a blog entry asking for tips on how to cure your pet tarantula’s indigestion, someone would be eager to answer with some kind of magical cinnamon herb cure.** I remember posting some of my first blogs (all poorly edited and without much taste) and having people like Hal, Carlo, and Tim all offer feedback and comments. I really can’t think of any other place where editors do this.
To prove just how accommodating MatadorU is, take this example. A few weeks ago, a glitch somewhere in the Interwebs caused many of us old-timer students to lose access to the forums (the main mode of communication). The problem was quickly rectified, but uproar went up from the students who were under the impression that they could access the material and forums for life. This wasn’t exactly the case, but after some discussion among staff, MatadorU now remains with its forum doors and course material wide open. That’s how much they love their students.
With the school, you can exploit your talent like crazy. The editors are always seeking fresh talent. As someone from behind the scenes, Matador has some incredibly amazing ideas coming up. Trust me when I say there’s never been a better time to get your voice heard.
I feel like this is the valedictorian speech I never had. Except I’m not a valedictorian, and such a thing does not exist within MatadorU. But whatever, I’m going to throw my imaginary hat in the air and crack open a beer anyway.
**Tarantulas don’t eat cinnamon herbs. Are cinnamon herbs even a real thing?