World Wide Travel with Karen Warren of WorldWideWriter: Creator Series
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Welcome to our series Creator’s & Traveler's Creations!
We are sharing highlights from transformation stories and how we are creating FIT Life Creation and the community. In this Creator series feature, we are featuring World Wide Travel with Karen Warren of WorldWideWriter.
Highlights of Story and Creations:
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to travel the world and to be a writer. Yet for many years my life was a cycle of commuting, working long hours and squeezing life into the weekends.
When I eventually remembered my early dreams I started to be more adventurous with my annual holidays, and I began scribbling stories during the morning train ride. But it wasn't enough…
Photo Credit Karen Warren
A different kind of achievement – at the end of The Ridgeway, an 87 mile walk
WorldWideWriter is Born
I'd already started a travel blog as a way to record my experiences. And I was writing my first novel, although it was progressing very slowly. This was at a time when there was a major restructuring at work, and my job was going to disappear. Something had to change, and rather than take an alternative role that I wasn't going to enjoy, I decided to push for an "exit package".
Three months later I had embarked on my new life as a full-time writer and frequent traveler. My travel website – WorldWideWriter – is now well established, and I am halfway through my second novel.
This life has taken me in unexpected directions. For instance, I have become known as a book reviewer (both fiction and non-fiction). I have become active in the Historical Novel Society and am helping to organize this year's UK conference. And I am always looking to sharpen my skills in all areas from photography to web development.
Karen Warren at Lincoln Castle, England
My travel brand is WorldWideWriter: this covers my website and all travel-related social media. I chose the name because my coverage is worldwide, but I also wanted to show that I am first and foremost a writer. I create all kinds of content – including video and photography – but the writing is at the center of everything I do.
As with all brands, WorldWideWriter has evolved over the years. At first, it was a personal account of my travels, but the focus has now shifted from myself to my readers. Although every post is based on my own experience (or the experience of guest posters) and contains a personal perspective, the emphasis is now on providing high-quality information for travelers.
My strapline is "information and inspiration for independent travellers". WorldWideWriter is known for giving people the information they need to create their own experiences, encouraging them to look beyond the guidebooks and the obvious tourist destinations. You won't find anything about beaches or extreme sports on my site: my readers are more interested in learning about a place, whether through history, food or local quirks.
I have a second – related – brand as a novelist and book reviewer. My author blog and social media were originally designed as a marketing vehicle for my novel (and future novels) and as a place to share my reviews of contemporary fiction. I am now known as a specialist in literary and historical fiction.
Biggest Success Factors
I used to think that writers were "other people", people who had been born with some special talent.
Karen Warren and her novel Shadow of the Dome
So my first success factor was the realization that a writer is a person who writes. I discovered that writing is a skill that can be learned and improved upon, that practice and determination are as important as innate ability.
When I first created my travel website I was excited to find that strangers were reading it and finding it useful. Even now, some years later, I am thrilled when a reader tells me I have helped with their travel planning or provided them with information they couldn't find elsewhere.
And then I finished my novel. Five years of research, planning and writing, and it was ready to launch upon the world. It took a while to find a publisher, but that was a part of the journey, a success in itself.
It isn't all about the money. I'm happy to see the income gradually rising, but that isn't the main impetus. Success is more likely if it is aligned with your personal goals and values.
Bahrain Fort – an example of how I like to write about less obvious destinations.
Your Challenges & How You Turned Pain into Purpose
My first challenge was to get WorldWideWriter onto a professional basis, to turn what was originally a hobby into a business. To do this I had to find ways of growing my readership, monetizing the site, and expanding my freelance writing.
All of this means focusing on the reader, delivering the information that they want. The challenge is to do this without compromising my integrity. The information I provide has to be honest and authentic, but it also has to be true to my brand. It has been a struggle, a challenge that I am still working on, but the end result is a synergy between my needs and intent and those of my audience.
My second challenge was the discovery that the publication of my novel was not the end of the journey, but the start of a new one. I now needed to make sure that people knew about the book, and I had to learn about marketing – fast!
This was where my transferrable skills came in handy: I used the knowledge I had built up from my travel writing to create a new author blog and social media accounts. Of course one challenge always leads to another and I had to decide what to include on the new website.
I had already been doing book reviews for the Historical Novel Society so it seemed logical to extend this activity and to include reviews in my new site, giving me the freedom to cover a wider range of books than before. So the challenge of marketing my novel took me to some new places…
My final challenge is one that will be familiar to everyone – the need to adapt to changing circumstances. As a travel writer I have had to watch the challenges to the travel industry – such as overtourism and the need for sustainability – and to ensure that my site deals with these in a responsible way.
At the time of writing the circumstance that is affecting all of us is the coronavirus lockdown, which is causing major problems for those whose business depends upon tourism. The challenge here is to find ways to help one another, to look for new ways of doing things, and to plan for the future.
Greenland - Photo Credit: Karen Warren
Greenland and the midnight sun – even after a lifetime of travel I can still be amazed!
Actionable Tips Along the Way
These are some of the things I have learned:
Identify what you want and plan to make it happen. Then make your plans real by talking about them.
Work on your plan all the time. For instance, if you want to be a writer, write every day (it doesn't matter what you write – you are still committing to your plan). Even if you can only spend 15 minutes a day, you are sharpening your skills and keeping the plan alive.
Embrace failure – learn from it but don't compromise your values. And don't pursue success at the expense of your ultimate vision.
Measure success on your own terms – watch what others are doing but don't measure yourself against them.
Don't be afraid to change your path – take opportunities but only if they fit with your vision. Remember that you are allowed to say no.
What You Think is Most Important with ?s Above
I think the most important thing is to keep your objectives at the forefront of whatever you are doing. Working on your plan every day – even if only for a short time – keeps it in your mind. If you're always focused on where you're going you'll be surprised at the insights that come to you when you're least expecting them!
You won't be surprised to hear that my favorite adventures are travel-related! My first big travel adventure was taking a train from London to Rome – on my own – with no idea of what I was going to do or where I was going to stay when I got there.
But I met other people along the way, and we were able to help one another with advice and companionship. That was many years ago, but I still look back on that trip as one of the best travel experiences of my life.
The lesson I learned was that independent travel (or any other activity) is rewarding, but that you shouldn't be afraid to accept help when necessary.
Final Words for those Creating What they Love
Plan for your dreams. Even if you can't take the plunge now, make sure you are ready when the opportunity comes.
I was lucky to be offered the exit package from work, but it wouldn't have meant anything if I hadn't already been in a position to take advantage of the opportunity.
Once you start planning the opportunities will arise!
FIT Life Creation
Creation Series: Karen Warren & WorldWideWriter
Create a Life and Business You Love & Creator Series
Transformation is required to create a life and business you love in each and every area. As the Creator and CEO of FIT Life Creation, I am not immune. I am co-creating and co-writing my story with our Creator each and every moment.
Don't compare your Chapter 1 to Chapter 7, or anyone's Chapter 22 or novel. Choose to humble yourself and be an eternal student. Refine your character to believe in faith for the impossible and ground yourself to be content when results are delayed for your growth.
What did you get from Joel's Creator Series article?
What action will you take next?
What will you take action on in the next 90 days?
If you love this post, you'll love How Transformation is Required to Create a Life & Business You Love.
Create in Our Community
Creator Series Contributions
If you are accepted, we will require in Word form:
1 Your Story
2 Your Brand
3 Biggest Success Factors
4 Your Challenges & How You Turned Pain into Purpose
5 Actionable Tips All Along the Way
6 What You Think is Most Important with ?s Above
7 Favorite Adventure
8 Final Tips for those creating what they love
We ask for a voice over so we may feature in our podcast.
(once story is approved - do not record in advance!)
Essentially follow the template and format you see
1 Your Media Kit
2 Confirm You Will Back Link on Your Blog/Media Page