Laura Waters walked over 3000 kilometres across New Zealand to conquer her anxieties and find her true passion: writing. After finishing the Australian Writers’ Centre Travel Writing course, Laura turned her hobby into a profession and now writes travel articles fulltime. She is also a published author with Bewildered, the incredible story of her extraordinary hike, out now with Affirm Press.
Learning the building blocks
Laura had always wanted to be an author, but never really imagined it would happen. She bought notebooks but the pages stayed blank. After quitting her corporate job and going on her hiking adventure, Laura knew she wanted to finally pursue her writing dreams.
“A friend recommended the AWC’s Travel Writing course,” Laura says. “I did it and it was a revelation.”
She has now had travel articles published in Jetstar magazine, Voyeur, RAC, Australian Traveller, Geographical UK, Outdoor, Wild, Great Walks and many more.
Before enrolling in Travel Writing with the AWC, Laura had already had a few articles published in outdoor magazines. She was living as frugally as she could, house-sitting and volunteering in exchange for free accommodation, to pursue her writing dream. But it was during the course that she realised just how much she didn’t know.
“I’d been lucky but that luck would have eventually run out,” Laura admits. “The Travel Writing course gave me the skills to see the ‘hidden rules’ that go into good writing, plus the nuts and bolts of how the industry worked.”
Laura was so fired up after that first course that she went on to do the Freelance Writing Masterclass program. Two things Laura really appreciated were the supportive communities she found through the courses and access to industry expertise. She was able to find answers to questions she had always longed to ask.
“I was missing a huge body of knowledge about how the industry worked, the types of stories out there, and the structure of a good piece. As a self-taught writer I felt I was stumbling around in the dark trying to work out what editors wanted,” Laura says. “With the support of AWC I’ve been able to elevate my writing from hobby to professional.”
Becoming an author
As well as being a writer, Laura can now call herself a published author. Her debut book, Bewildered, takes readers on her 3000-
kilometre journey from the northtip of New Zealand to the bottom of the south island. Trekking the Te Araroa path over six months transformed her life, and it was a story she wanted to share with the world.
After finishing her manuscript, she enlisted the help of a professional book editor and quickly secured a publishing deal. She ‘floated’ out of her contract meeting, amazed that her book would be on the shelves of bookstores.
“I’ve had a wonderful response from readers around the world who have sent me messages about how much they love it or how the book really resonated with them. It’s worth the effort to do it properly.”
Laura is continuing her freelance travel writing career as well as doing speaking gigs to share her journey. Her goal is to help people connect with nature and find the simple, low-stress and authentic life that she has found.
“With the support of AWC I’ve been able to elevate my writing from hobby to professional,” she says. “I’m still learning a lot and I think that will just take time, but now I have basic skills and understanding to build on.”
Congratulations, Laura! Your journey is inspirational and we look forward to seeing where you go next.
Is now the time you transform your life and pursue your travel writing dreams? Enrol in the Australian Writers’ Centre Travel Writing course today.