Dear Family, Friends, and Web/Blog Followers:

It’s been quite a while since I’ve sent one of these kinds of emails. Given COVID-19 and seemingly having more time on my hands, I thought: why not send out another writing newsletter like I did a few years ago? Of course, it suggests that I think you might be interested in hearing about such things, which is likely me being a bit presumptuous, but also it is an attempt to say to you – “Hello, here’s what I’ve been up to” – which I know is something I’m not very good at doing.

Anyway … here goes:

Over the past year or so, I’ve been writing regular columns for Adventure Sports Journal (ASJ) out of Santa Cruz, CA and for Bicyclist Magazine out of Irvine, CA. The ASJ column is titled Earn Your Beer and the Bicyclist one is called In Search of Dirt. Basically, both are about adventuring outside—mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, body surfing, snowshoeing, ocean/mountains/desert, etc—and then enjoying some of the finer things in life (camping, food, drink, sunrises and sunsets). I also am a regular contributor to Snowshoe Magazine out of Denver, CO area. Combined, these 3 media outlets allow me to do something I truly dreamed about back in the undergrad days—travel and write and get paid to do it. It’s not anywhere near enough to support myself (teaching at San Diego State does that), but it does offset the cost of travel and leaves a little left over to stash away for the next trip.

Earn Your Beer: https://adventuresportsjournal.com/tag/james-murren/

In Search of Dirt: https://bicyclist.xyz/author/jamesmurren/

In 2019, my writings were published twice in L.A. Times/Travel, one of the premiere newspaper travel sections. I have another one lined up for this year, assuming COVID-19 doesn’t change that (what is okay/ethical to publish in a travel section when we probably shouldn’t be traveling to more remote locations?). Getting a byline in L.A. Times enhanced my portfolio, no doubt. To read those pieces, click the links:

Snowshoeing in San Diego’s Mountains:

https://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-san-diego-snowshoe-mount-laguna-20190316-story.html

Yurting on Gooseberry Mesa:

https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2019-07-12/utah-gooseberry-mesa-joy-and-power-of-wilderness-prevail

I continue to write for mountain biking magazines, hoping a feature I wrote about Pennsylvania and map making goes to print in June. Hoping—COVID-19 is hitting publishers hard because the advertisement dollars, which is how they get their money, is drying up fast. No ads mean they can’t pay the writers.

Almost forgot—I wrote a Commentary for the Op-Ed section of the San Diego Union-Tribune about self-isolating from a Peace Corps perspective. You can read those 6 tips here:

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/story/2020-04-02/coronavirus-shelter-in-place-guidance-from-former-member-of-peace-core

Big News: I have been accepted into the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). The oldest such organization in the USA, it is considered by many to be the most selective and prestigious travel writers group in North America. What does this mean for me? I don’t know yet, as I found out only last week. They will be doing a profile of me in the coming weeks. From then, I’ll have to wait and see how things unfold.

That’s it, y’all! Wasn’t that a good way to end it?!

It’s not The End, though. If you would like to keep up with what I’m doing/what I’m writing, go to my writer’s website/blog and follow along. You can sign up for news from me to arrive to your email inbox. Go to the site and click on “Menu” on the top right corner, then scroll down to “Updates” and enter your info.

https://jamesmurren.com/

Wishing you all good health and more laughter than grimaces …

Stay safe and be well,

Jim

Eastern Sierra, CA

 

independent writer

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