Announcing The NaNoWriMo Morning Motivation 2013 Campaign

 

 

42/365 Der Bücherschrank

Greeting fellow writers!

It’s that time of the year again, my friends; National Novel Writing Month is upon us. Whether you’re working on a novel, a collection of short stories, or a book of poetry, NaNoWriMo helps to get us writers excited and turning out excellent word counts during the month of November.

But even in these exciting times, you might get stuck in a rut. Maybe you lose sight of your plot line in too much description or inner monologue. What happens if you can’t decide on what point of view to write from? What if a character seems to be evolving into someone who doesn’t fit the story?

Every morning during the month of November, I will be posting an inspirational photo along with motivating quotes, advice, and writing exercises on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter. Simply follow @planomania (Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter) or canadian.transplant (Tumblr) to receive the daily updates.

At the end of the month, I will be extending a special offer to all those who took part in NaNowriMo Morning Motivation 2013.  Be sure to subscribe and follow me on your favorite social network for updates and special offers.

Ready, set, write!

Seeing the World as a Poor College Student

Planomania.com is proud to introduce the site’s first guest blogger, KC Owens! KC is a college student who loves traveling, college life, fitness and a good survival kit. He enjoys studying different cultures, meeting new people and leaving his footprint somewhere most people only read about.

Hiker andresAzp via Compfight

Going to college is a great experience; you get to meet new people from all around the world, study new things and live life a little. Now, it all sounds positive but it doesn’t come without it’s share of anxiety. The truth of the matter is that being a college student can be a remarkably stressful time in your life. As a result of all that stress, I always need to let loose for a little while and hit the refresh button. Personally, I like to travel around and meet new people; that’s my refresh button. It can be difficult because world travel is not cheap but college is a fantastic time for you to go see new sights and experience life in a different manner. Lucky for you, I’ve done this once or twice so I know where to cut corners to help make world travel more accessible for the average student.

Paying For It

The first concern most people have is money. Now, it really does take a fair amount of cash to go see the world but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. The best way to cut corners is by plotting out your trip in advance. First, pick countries with positive currency exchanges so you get the most bang for your buck. For example, the US dollar is about three times stronger than the Polish Zloty. This makes everything more affordable!

Now, I work during school to help ease the pain in my wallet when it comes time to shell out money for plane and train passes but it doesn’t completely cover my costs. Not everyone has a few thousand dollars lying around, and that is where the research comes into play. I always try to borrow the rest of my funding so I know I am covered. According to Credit Card Insider, today, more students are borrowing money to help pay for vacations and education so hey, why not follow suit? The student credit card that I have for traveling is great. It helps convert currencies automatically for me and is much safer so carry than a wad of cash. Carrying too much paper cash in a foreign city can make you a target so watch out. Aside from being easier and safer, my card is great because it helps give me cash back on my major expenses. The tricky part is paying off the debt once I return home; if I do not pay it off quickly, then it becomes more expensive with interest. If you’re going to use a card, be responsible and do some research ahead of time to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

Packing Intelligently

To continue saving money: next, choose the right piece of luggage for your trip. A good piece of luggage will have plenty of locks, and it will also be relatively small and compact. It will be something that you can haul around over your shoulder and across your body, and it will hold everything that you need. That’s why I always bring a hiking backpack and nothing else. When you go to pack it, remember that you can get a lot more space out of your bag if you are willing to roll things up. Take a moment to think about the kind of clothing that you want to bring along. Choose clothes that are relatively light, and ideally ones that are a fifty-fifty cotton poly blend. Clothes that are only made out of natural fibers often hold water too long, and clothes with a bit of polyester in them resist wrinkles.

How does a backpack save you money while traveling? By having one pack, you make it harder for pickpockets to steal from you so you don’t end up buying things twice for one trip. Next, most airlines and trains will charge passengers more for extra bags or heavy bags; if you have one small bag, then you won’t be charged extra! Finally, while you’re staying in hostels (because these are the cheapest form of lodging) you will need to lock your bag a locker. If you have four bags then you’ll need four lockers as opposed to one small one.

Doing Laundry

When you are on the road, you are going to get dirty and your clothes will need to be washed. This means that you need to have your clothes cleaned, but where can you go to get the job done? While some countries have a laundromat on every corner, you may be surprised to find that others do not. Wealthier foreign travelers might have the hotel take care of them, but what do you do if you are a poor student? First, ask around for a coin laundry. When you find the coin laundry, remember to stay with your things. There are far too many people who steal clothes out of the laundry, and the last thing that you want to do is to keep come back and find that all you have now is the clothes that you are wearing. If you have packed wisely and you are using thin clothing, you can often wash the clothes by hand in a sink or even with a hose and hang them up to dry.

If you cannot find someone who can answer your laundry questions then be an advocate for youself and answer your own question. There have been several times where I needed to wash my clothes (badly) and I used Laundry Finder to help do this. It’s a great app for your phone that helps locate where the closest Laundromat is and shows you how to get there. I would highly recommend giving this a try.

 

If you want to see the world and really learn more about other cultures, it is up to you to see what is out there. There are so many things to see and do, so don’t limit yourself. Pick the destination that you have wanted to see since you were little and head on over!

What to Do When You Discover That You’re Really Bad at Something

YARGHHH! William A. Clark via Compfight

 

Sometimes, I fail at taking my ideas from the abstract and conceptual to the concrete and material.

Take vlogging, for instance.  I recently had this idea to try to put up a monthly video on this blog. However, I’m ditching that endeavor in favour of what I already know I can do: write a blog post each week.

Lately, this blog hasn’t been getting updated because I’ve been freaking out about getting a video of my New York City trip edited and uploaded. Therefore, I have neither a video nor a weekly post. See, I really don’t know anything about vlogging. Like most people of my age, I spend a lot of time on Youtube, admiring the creativity and humour of the many talented vloggers that regularly post videos. I appreciate a well-produced video when I see one. I particularly love the Vlogbrother’s style of travel video “Thoughts from Places”. That was the basic concept for my video on NYC. I took a LOT of video clips while I was there, thinking that I could stitch them together and then do a voice-over narration.

Unfortunately, I know nothing about what constitutes a good editing program. I downloaded a simple free one and got to work. It was just a free trial, which I didn’t think would be a big deal. The program didn’t specify what features would no longer be available after the trial ended.

Fast forward two weeks later to tonight. I  open the program and a notification pops up saying that my trial has expired. I click “Ok”, not thinking much of it. The program opens, and the “projects” folder is empty.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

The first thing that happened was a slightly stunned search for “NYC in 4.vip”. Then another search. Nothing.

The second thing that happened was that I got a sudden headache above my right eyebrow.

A Facebook rant was posted and several ice cream sandwiches were eaten. I listened to “How” by Regina Spektor.

Then I got to thinking about failure and expectations. Why do we feel that we have to succeed at everything that we do? How is it that we expect ourselves to be able to achieve anything that we set our minds to if only we try hard enough or have enough determination or just keep practicing? I understand that there are thousands of inspirational stories of people who overcome incredible odds and are able to walk again after a terrible accident or somehow compose some of the world’s finest music after going doing deaf. I’m talking about telling our kids that they can be anything that want to be if they only work hard enough.

The fact of the matter is that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Most likely, you will never fully overcome your weaknesses, because no one is perfect. You can’t be good at everything. Maybe you’re extremely tech-savvy and hope to someday create that next great app for iPhone. If you were offered a singing gig, that might not be how you want to spend your day off. You’re not a failure for not being a good singer. Your strengths just lie in a different field.

What would this world be like if everyone focused on their own true strengths? Besides eliminating half of American Idol‘s and So You Think You Can Dance‘s footage, I feel like that so many people would be more productive and content if they were doing the things they were good at and offering their services to the world.

Now, there’s always the danger of taking this idea to the other extreme. I love to try new things. If you don’t try something, how will you know whether or not it’s own of your strengths? Alternatively, you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it. I love to sing at the top of my lungs when I’m alone. I know that I sound nothing like Regina Spektor, but it doesn’t stop me from singing along and having a great time. I’m just saying that I’m not planning on auditioning for The Voice.

So there you have it: My advice for being happier and more productive is to focus on your strengths and don’t put yourself down for the things that you think that you should be better at.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series entitled “NYC in 4″, detailing the confusing simplicity that is New York City and how I  discovered that I am actually not a very social person. I’m so grateful that I did get a few really great pictures while I was there, and not just video clips.

Disclaimer: I am going to start on the video again eventually, I’m just going to re-write the script and be a little less ambitious with the special effects and editing. I have learned that I am not a vlogger.