How it all began

Diaries have always been an interest of mine, particularly other peoples’. As a child and adolescent I kept diaries, posh, leather diaries with a handsome clasp, lock and key. There was just enough space under each date to record momentous events “Nick smiled at me today, I think he fancies me”.

When I started working as a Tour Leader it was important to record any noteworthy events to report back to the office at the end of each trip. My diary writing skills reached the dizzying heights of “plane delayed for 3 hours, missed our connection to Santiago” and “arrived at the hotel with 30 clients but it was closed”.

I became bored with the mundane and began to record more details regarding where I was and what I had been doing. These entries were to form the basis of my annual Christmas circular letter. I was surprised to receive Christmas cards with a note enthusing about these epistles.

Meanwhile my Tour Diaries were being well received by my manager and resulted in requests for contributions to newsletters and copy writing for brochures.

Full of enthusiasm I decided to try my writing skills further afield and to write articles for travel magazines. By now I was a keen photographer and could illustrate my words with pictures. I felt I could not fail. But I did. Rejection followed rejection.

Next step, seek expert advice. I signed up for a travel writing course run by Travellers Tales and soon saw the error of my ways. I was writing what I wanted to write and not what the magazines wanted me to write!

So, it was back to the drawing board, or rather, the diaries. By now I had collected together a lot of material but needed to find a way to use it. Then it struck me one day as I was walking in the Dolomites in Madonna di Campiglio, my favourite destination. I should write about this place. So I did and amazingly a few months later I found a publisher and my first book, Spirit of the Dolomites, was published in August 2008.

Author: Valery Collins, © 2013