Widen Your Scope by Starting Small

Whatever your target market or writing niche… how could you make this tip work for you? Starting small takes off the pressure to be bigger than you really feel. If you’ve been feeling like a fraud, not able to take yourself and your writing seriously or give yourself the credit you should be… take it down a level. Give yourself some time to catch up with yourself. Just for a short time. Don’t get too comfortable and stay small. Build yourself a nice cushion and then begin taking bigger steps. See how far you have gotten the next time you pause to look back at where you have been.

3. Widen your world by starting small

Counterintuitive as it may seem, in the same way that it makes sense to focus your content, it also makes sense to closely focus any initial beyond-your-own-blog publishing efforts you’re inspired to make. Want to see your name in print? If your town has a local newspaper, pitch some stories to the features editor. If you’ve found a website you especially admire, contact the editor or producer to see if you might contribute content on a subject that requires your special expertise. If there’s a magazine that touches on a subject you love, study the small pieces that appear in the front of the magazine and pitch a story or two to that section’s editor. Your ultimate goal is to develop a relationship with an editor or producer that will give you a regular outlet for your pieces – and a potential springboard to a wider world beyond.

Source: Five expert tips for getting started in travel writing – Lonely Planet

Message in a Bottle Delayed

messageinabottleSource: 25 Incredible Stories From The World Of Ships, Boats, And Sailors

Pretty unbelievable. One of those things you would guess as false and yet wonder if it’s just odd enough to be true.

Imagine you found (by some long chain of events) a message in a bottle from a long forgotten relative. Just as in this case,  written as he or she was dying then left to be found. You could create a whole story about how the message was left but lost and wandered around for centuries only found by some odd mixture of events. It wouldn’t need to be a message in a bottle. It could be found in a time capsule. It could have been under the floor boards of an old house being demolished. So many options to choose from or invent.

Write the story, from start to finish, all the places and people who became involved in that old message along the way.

For Space Opera Writers

A group for writers working in the space opera genre to network, post works-in-progress, and to offer critiques for others.

via Space Opera: Writers.

Found on a forum. Original source unknown.
Found on a forum. Original source unknown.

How many types of science fiction genre can you think of? Seems there is always at least one more…

  • Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic
  • Cyberpunk
  • Dieselpunk
  • Steampunk
  • First contact
  • Hard science fiction
  • Alternative history
  • Near-future
  • Future fantasy
  • Super human
  • Slipstream
  • Soft/sociological
  • Space western
  • Time travel

Could there be a Train Around the World?

I think this is a great idea. But, maybe better for a super train than a highway for standard vehicles. There are so many great ideas in the works for trains. Even trains which seem impossible to derail and have accidents. All run faster and work with various green fuel ideas.

I’d love to take a trip on a train from London to Toronto. No doubt the tracks could connect to Toronto somewhere along the way through western Canada or around the Great Lakes. What a great trip that would be.

Travel to Europe might become much more affordable too. Shipping of goods/ trade could be simpler. Not all of those trains would be for passengers!

Far into the future (or not so far) the road or train could extend south into Africa and South America too. How great would that be for developing countries? I’m not thinking tourism or charity but real human resources as people could make the trip in much less time – quite a distance to commute to work but the super trains could make the trip.

How would a whirlwind trip around the world on the super train be? What would you pack?

London to New York City by car? It could happen if the head of Russian Railways has his way.

Source: Road from Europe to U.S.? Russia proposes superhighway – CNN.com

Get in the Road Trip Mood

Find a vintage motel or hotel postcard on eBay. Pick something from your local area so you will know the streets, more or less. Use Google Street View (find the location on the back view of the postcard) see if you can find the motel now. Is it still there at all? If so, is the name the same? Spot the differences between then and now.


Source: Caribou Motel Barrie Orilla Ontario ON Canada Vintage Chrome Postcard | eBay

Take it on the road and visit the site. Get a photograph and (if you have a site) post the then and now images. Find some history, if you can. Or design a history for the motel yourself. Who owned and operated it over the years? Did they love it, grow too tired to keep it going, run out of money? What changes happened around them in the local area?

I found the Caribou Motel in the present, it’s gone. Replaced by a new gas bar. Nothing left of the old motel and diner except the space around the new building. You can see some curb out by the road and the parking lot is bigger than the current commercial business would need. Small hints at what once was.

caribounow

You can see what became of the Caribou in urban exploration photos from CopySix and other explorers who posted to Flickr and Ontario Abandoned Places. Note: the CopySix post has a comment from the original owner’s family.

Have you Heard of all These Science Fiction Subgenres?

  • Alternative History
  • Biopunk
  • Black/Afrofuturism
  • Cyberpunk
  • Dying Earth
  • Dystopian
  • Edisonade
  • Gothic/Space Goth
  • Imaginary voyage
  • Libertarian
  • Military
  • Post Apocalyptic
  • Retrofuturistic
  • Space Frontier
  • Space Opera
  • Spy-fi
  • Superhero
  • Tech Noir
  • Time Travel
  • Utopian
  • The source for this great list (comes with descriptions and sub-subgenres for each of these) is:

Getting into Genre: Science Fiction.

Find Your Passion By Answering These 50 Questions

50 questions to help you find your passion:

1. What is working well for you in your current life — what do you find fulfilling, meaningful, enjoyable, and important?

I still have my independence, a place to work which I have been re-creating to get rid of clutter. I find those to be enjoyable and important.

2. What isn’t working well for you in your current life — what drains you, makes you stressed and anxious, or wastes your time?

Conflict and stress over conflicts drains me.

3. If you were financially secure and didn’t need a paycheck, how would you spend your time?

I would still do much of what I do now. More travel and photographing old places. I’d have a space that was more my own, no other tenants for sure.

Read more

Where Would you Teleport to First?

Thanks to the wonders of science we now have teleportation, much like the old Star Trek series. A beam of light moves people nearly instantly from one place to another. Halfway around the world and back again in less than a minute – if you want to accept the risk of scrambling your brains. There are warnings posted about over use and the effects on the human mind. But, everyone ignores the warnings and charges in to be the first to try something new.

When you get to the head of the line you are asked where you want to go. So, where do you want to go, first? You can’t travel in time, yet, but anywhere on the planet (as long as you can breathe when you get there) is open to you. Stay as long or as little as you like, your return pass is not dated.

What is a Vagabond?

vagabondHistorically, vagabonds were pretty tough, anti-establishment characters who lived as homeless drifters by choice. Modern vagabonds tend to be people who live off the grid or those who travel the world from out of a backpack.

Traditionally a vagabond is a person who wanders from one place to another, with no real home of their own. In modern culture this could be a homeless person or a street person. However, vagabonds aren’t the same as people who stay in a city (or any one place) and live there without having a typical home. Vagabonds are a subculture of their own making.

Some offbeat world travellers call themselves vagabonds. They travel the world, they travel as cheaply as they can (in order to keep travelling , they work here and there… but they do have a home to plan to return to once they finish travelling. The vagabond tourist is about seeing the world and stretching their resources for as long and as well as they can along the journey. Historically, vagabonds were more rebellious and travel was their way of avoiding putting down roots or really belonging or being found anywhere.

Vagabonds (tramps, hobos, or drifters) during the Great Depression lived a homeless lifestyle by choice. Often they were fugitives from the law or just avoided the law after having a few run ins with the police and/ or jail. My Grandfather was a drifter for awhile. He told me about some of his adventures. He said the tramps were dangerous and he learned to avoid them. Those men could be brutal and were living by taking what they could get.

After living that way awhile some of them adapted the lifestyle as their own subculture. They created rules and guidelines for who they were and created a culture out of their vagabond lifestyle.

There’s a romantic ideal of the vagabond (the little hobo with patches on their clothes and a pack slung on the end of a stick), but that’s not based on the facts so much as the idea of travelling and seeing the world, meeting new people and enjoying different cultures. The modern is about adventure.

wanderers

Could You be a Vagabond?

  • You really need a change, like a jump start for your life or your spirits.
  • You haven’t figured out your career path or all your jobs seem to be dead ends.
  • You don’t have a lot of obligations, personal (family and kids) or financial (mortgage on a house).
  • You feel burnt out or you’ve lost (or never really had) your sense of who you are.
  • You’ve never really travelled, never left your own country, or even your own home town.

 Other Words for Vagabond

  • vagrant
  • tramp
  • drifter
  • hobo
  • wanderer
  • nomad
  • landloper
  • train hoppers

 The Downside of the Vagabond Lifestyle

  • Living out of a backpack, suitcase, luggage of whatever sort.
  • Always looking for travel arrangements and destinations.
  • Finding temporary work on the road, year round.
  • Not having a place of your own where you can put down roots and keep your stuff.
  • Living under someone’s (couch sitting, hostels, etc.) roof with their rules and ways.
  • Meeting and getting to know people but always moving on and not having any real relationships with anyone.
  • No routine, having to adapt and make plans every day.
  • Packing and repacking everything into one bag and then hauling it all around.
  • Eating on the fly – sometimes not eating when the money is low.
  • Living on a tight budget and having to be thrifty.

Vagabond Lifestyle

Vagabond as a Traveller

Articles About Being a Vagabond

30 Fun Things to do with a Digital Camera

  • Create a wish list. Make a catalogue of things you would like for your next birthday, Christmas or other event.
  • Take a photo of important information like a list of phone numbers, your Christmas card list, something you need to remember later and so on. Take a photo of your shopping list so you can send it to yourself if you forget the list at home.
  • Keep an idea file with photos of things you have seen and would like to make yourself. Or a hairstyle you would like next time you are getting a trim.
  • Photograph collections of things. An especially effective way to deal with clutter from collecting too many things. Choose which you really want to keep and photograph the collection before you disperse the rest. 
  • Play scavenger hunt with friends or family. Photograph something specific in your home or town and challenge others to find the item or place you photographed.
  • Turn a photo into a jigsaw puzzle instead of the more traditional greeting card sent for events, holidays and such occasions.
  • Become a photojournalist and collect all your photos to tell a story.
  • Use your photos for digital scrapbooking and keeping an art journal.
  • Choose something interesting or unique and take a photo of a day, create a series. See if you can take a photo a day for a full month, even a full year.
  • Take photos in black and white and see how different people, places and things look in shades of grey.
  • Photograph collections of things by colour. Display items of all sorts, but all of them are red, for instance.
  • Photograph the same place at sunset and again at sunrise, make sure you have the camera positioned in the same spot for both photographs.
  • Practice portrait photography using dolls, stuffed animals and other inanimate toys with faces. Pose them and sort them in patterns and try different light and shadows too.
  • Photograph reflections in windows, water and anything else creative. Mirrors don’t really count, too easy.
  • Try night photography. Make the most of available light or explore the flash features (avoid washed out photos from flash).
  • Take selfie photos. Explore new ways to take quick self portraits.
  • Photograph people with different facial expressions. Start a collection.
  • Create a household inventory. Useful for insurance but a good way to go through what you have and sort it out.
  • Take a photo of old photos and other things which will fade with time. A digital photo can keep them fresh, preserved.
  • Photograph your luggage when you travel. If anything goes missing you can show just what you had when you started out.
  • Play with macro and close up photos. Insects are a good challenge, interesting and not hard to find out in the garden. Flowers and plants are popular for up close pictures too.
  • Photograph anything you would like to sell and post the photo to online forums where people are buying.
  • Try street photography. If you’re too shy find a good place to people watch and pretend you’re checking your camera while you take the photos.
  • Try food photography. Learn how to display fruit, vegetables and home baked goodies for taking great images.
  • Take photos by candlelight. Make them romantic or spooky.
  • Try urban exploration, taking a photo of something forgotten or derelict in your area.
  • Play with focus. Focus on items near and then try the same photo with the focus on something in the background.
  • Try catching a water drop and the ripples they create in the standing water.
  • Go abstract, looking for interesting shapes, textures and colours to turn into unique images.
  • Take a drive and get into landscape and nature photography. Or, find a great spot where you can take a photo of the cityscape for your town/ city.