In the News: Top 5 Take-Home Tidbits from the Lonely Planet No More Seminar (Fully Booked)

Almost a month ago (and fresh after the grueling campaign!), I and my “writing sisters” from Writer’s Block Philippines joined Lonely Planet guidebook author Greg Bloom in giving a travel writing seminar to guests of Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street . It was great fun sharing our insights from two of the things we love most–writing and traveling–and to be joined by no less than an authority in the field.

Here, I’ll share an excerpt of what Fully Booked published in its blog, but for more meaty stuff, read the original post in the Fully Booked website.

Now that summer’s officially over, wouldn’t it be great to relive your travel adventures by writing about them? 😉

~ N

P.S. For an interesting look at what Greg Bloom thinks of Manila, read this post in 🙂

Top 5 Take-Home Tidbits from the Lonely Planet No More Seminar

Originally published in the official blog of Fully Booked

Fully Booked - Lonely Planet No More travel writing seminar - Niña Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, and Ana Santos of Writer's Block Philippines; Lonely Planet author Greg Bloom; Regina Cruz and Aimee Diego of Fully Booked
Fully Booked – Lonely Planet No More travel writing seminar – Niña Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, and Ana Santos of Writer’s Block Philippines; Lonely Planet author Greg Bloom; Regina Cruz and Aimee Diego of Fully Booked

Last weekend, Lonely Planet visiting author Greg Bloom was joined by Writers Block Philippines’ Nina Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou and Ana P. Santos to give nice, long, comprehensive seminar about travel writing.

Each speaker tackled a specific topic in travel writing—getting published, guidebook writing, feature articles, ethics. They also entertained questions from the audience of almost a hundred people, gathered at our Fort branch atrium space. While the seminar gave a great picture of the travel writing industry, how to do it as a job, and how to get started, here are five important take-aways from the workshop that are essential to anyone who would like to get into it!

1. Tell a story

“Each place has a story and your job is to find out what that story is,” Nina Terol-Zialcita mentioned. A travel article is more than a narration of what you did from the start to the end of your trip. Learn to focus on a certain part of the experience: the cuisine, the sights, the people, a realization and the events that led you to it, or anything else that struck you.

2. “Always try to get people into your articles.” — Greg Bloom

“That’s where the stories are,” Greg said.

“Imagine your destination as a person you want to get to know,” shared Ana P. Santos of Writers Block. How would you describe the person to others? Get talking to the people from that place and find out about the spirit behind it. Include dialogue in your article as well, as it shows the interaction and specific experiences that helped you build your story.

3. “Don’t underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.” — Ana P. Santos

The basics should never be taken for granted: well-written prose, grammar, a good introduction and a tight conclusion. What is heat vs. what is humidity? Know the nuances and words in order to provide a clear picture to your readers.

4. Know the market.

Research about the travel writing scene. What publications are you pitching to? What is the specific tone of that publication and how can your story fit into it? What are the trends in travel, and what would people want to read about? Where is the demand in travel writing? Is it in feature articles? Guidebook writing? This can also be a source of income when done well and done properly. The topics you write about should also be marketable to a publication and its audience.

5. Your primary responsibility is to the reader.

A part of the seminar was also dedicated to the ethics that govern one’s travel writing piece. While we want our readers to understand why we fell in love with a place, we also don’t want to be accused of ‘gushing’ over a city. Try to keep a certain sense of objectivity as well. While the article is written in the first person, the essence of it should still be about the place, and not about you.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full post, click HERE.



Dreamboarding: Cutting and Pasting Dreams onto Reality (

Dreamboarding: Cutting And Pasting Dreams Onto Reality

Published on February 7, 2013 in

To make a dream come true, some action is required. Creating a visual plan may be what you need to help you achieve your success goals.

/ by Niña Terol-Zialcita /

Much has been said and written about visualizing your goals in order to make them real. The late great Stephen Covey, whose Seven Habits of Highly Successful People has guided millions of driven individuals on the path of success, said it best when he said, “Begin with the end in mind.”

You need to know what success looks like for you to know when you’ve already achieved it—much like an architect needs to first create a blueprint, then a 3D rendition or a scale model, of the structure he or she wants to build before the actual construction takes place. Similarly, any traveler will need a map to locate his or her destination and to know the pit stops and potential pitfalls along the way.

It would be difficult to get exactly what you like or where you need to go if you don’t even know what it looks like.

The first step, then, to creating a blueprint or a map for your goals is to create a dreamboard.


This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the website

Dreamboarding and “The Power of Cut-and-Paste”

In the movie The Secret, based on a book by the same title by best-selling author Rhonda Byrne, a man relayed his astonishment when he realized that the new house he had just bought was the same one whose image he had clipped from a magazine and tacked on a corkboard several years earlier.

In Chicken Soup for the Soul, actor Jim Carrey was said to have written a multi-million dollar check to himself as a way of affirming his aspirations to someday be wealthy. This was years before he achieved superstar status in no less than Hollywood.

Many inspirational and self-help books around the world attest to the power of positive, creative visualization. Some suggest writing lists; others recommend reciting daily positive affirmations to oneself—but one of the most powerful methods for affirming and visualizing one’s goals, by far, is using “the power of cut-and-paste” through Dreamboarding.

What is dreamboarding?

NTZ's dreamboard circa April 2010
NTZ’s dreamboard circa April 2010

Dreamboarding is a creative process of putting together images in a collage to manifest one’s aspirations and intentions. On the surface, it looks easy enough because all it seems to involve are some magazines, a board and glue, and some art materials. But the internalization process in a Dreamboarding session can be quite powerful and can help today’s busy, multi-tasking individuals de-clutter and see what truly matters to them.

“When we conducted a corporate Dreamboarding session early this year, we were surprised to see that participants hardly showed anything work-related,” shares Nikka Sarthou of Writer’s Block Philippines. “Some of them made collages of travels that they wanted to embark on, others assembled images of goals for their families. One executive surprised the group by putting together images of babies and saying that she was already excited to be a grandmother—and her son wasn’t even married yet!”

“Dreamboarding allows us to get in touch with ourselves again and connect with that side of ourselves that is often buried underneath deadlines, multiple roles, and a long list of expectations,” says Niña Terol-Zialcita of Writer’s Block Philippines, who facilitates the group’s dreamboarding sessions. “When I was much younger, I created dreamboards and ‘vision walls’ to express my goals and aspirations. Now that I wear multiple hats and often have to deal with competing needs and wants, I use dreamboarding to process and prioritize what really matters to me at a particular point in time.”

According to Martha Beck, who has written on vision boards in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine,” When you start assembling pictures that appeal to [your] deep self, you unleash one of the most powerful forces on our planet: human imagination… The board itself doesn’t impact reality; what changes your life is the process of creating the images—combinations of objects and events that will stick in your subconscious mind and steer your choices toward making the vision real.”

Aside from helping people fulfill personal goals, dreamboarding also unleashes creativity and helps people think laterally and in images rather than in words, bullet points, and linear methods. According to Ana Santos of Writer’s Block Philippines, one corporate client uses dreamboards (also called “inspiration boards”) to get employees to think out of the box and see connections in seemingly contrasting elements. “After seeing the results of an initial dreamboarding session, one CEO mandated that, henceforth, presentations were to be done via dreamboards than by boring Powerpoint presentations. There’s a lot more creative energy that’s unleashed when a team works on ‘analog’ materials than when they use familiar technology, such as presentation slides.”

The “power of cut-and-paste”

And, indeed, the “power of cut-and-paste” works not only to unleash creative energy, but—more importantly—to make dreams come true.

When the ladies of Writer’s Block Philippines made their own dreamboards in January, the major themes that emerged were: financial rewards for one, international recognition for another, and the “white picket fence dream” for another. Just six months after that exercise, one lady had already surpassed her financial targets, another is on her way to New York to speak at an international women’s conference, and another got engaged within a few weeks of the dreamboarding exercise.

Other Dreamboarding participants have likewise attested to the “power of cut-and-paste”—whether it was in getting that much-coveted Rolex, the dream project, or even a satisfying relationship.

“Your dreamboard is by no means a magic pill that will make everything happen for you,” Terol-Zialcita cautions. “But it will keep on reminding you of what your goals are and, therefore, how you should focus your time, energy, and resources.”

Dreamboarding by Writer's Block Philippines | July 21, 2012 (Saturday) 1-4PM at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street
Dreamboarding by Writer’s Block Philippines | July 21, 2012 (Saturday) 1-4PM at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street | Click on the image to view the event FAQs

On July 21, 2012 (Saturday), Writer’s Block Philippines will open a public Dreamboarding session for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. The three-hour session will take place at The Forum in Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, from 1 to 4PM, and will be an opportunity for participants to set the tone for the next half of 2012. A registration fee of Php1,200 covers all materials and snacks for the afternoon.

“The first step to achieving your dreams is to visualize them,” says Sarthou.

Meanwhile, Santos says, “Anytime is a good time to start making your dreams come true. Who knows? Some of those New Year’s Resolutions that you’ve already given up on just might get a new lease on life when you make your own dreamboard.”

Writer’s Block Philippines leverages their combined experience of over 20 years in conducting writing and creativity workshops for aspiring writers, creative communicators, and corporate communicators. To reserve a slot for Dreamboarding, or to inquire about other workshops and services, interested parties may email[email protected] or call (0927) 850 8280. More information is also found in<>.