Essays and articles

How Can I Minimize my Carbon Footprints?

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A writer has to write on something useful. One of my favorite advocacy is for a cleaner and greener environment. I’ve done some readings and research on the subject of climate change, and as we knew already – it is mostly happening because of our unsustainable activities and practices. 

There are many ways to minimize your carbon footprints. This refers to the total emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) due to your travel, home or other activities that make use of burning fossil fuel. Calculating our carbon footprints is quite a complicated activity, but estimating the load of carbon dioxide emissions of your daily activities and habits is possible. Our travel needs and how our food travels from its source to our table, all need fossil fuel. Our energy sources are also culprits. While the main contributors to global warming are the big industries, we can help in minimizing GHG emissions in little ways that impact in the long run. You need not buy a solar panel, unless you can afford one. Some simple acts which we often overlook just need to be done with patience and persistence. Most of these are common knowledge already, as going green campaigns get more attention and following. To mention a few of these:

 

·        *  Turn-off unused lights, appliances and gadgets

·        *  Use soft lightings in your bedrooms

·        *  Recycle empty bottles and other stuffs in the house like shoe boxes, papers, wrappers, etc.

·        *  Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator

·       *   Eat more greens, less on meat

·         * For families, try buying your groceries in bulk for two-weeks to month-long use. Cook your meals in bulk, freeze , thaw and reheat when you want to eat them

·        *  Try preserving food to make them last – such as pickling, salting and making jams

·         * If it is just one mile, why not walk, jog or bike, instead of taking the cab

·         * Try switching off on week-ends – phones, emails and other gadgets

·        *  Make a scrapbook – use recycled things in the house

 

You can add more to the list above.

Remember that small acts if developed into lifelong habits are like small pebbles thrown into a still pond. These will create the ripple effect if adopted by one family, one community and one country.

 

Essays and articles

A Second Look on These Writing Gigs

Writing gigs. It feels nice to hear these words to describe what you’re doing now. It’s like becoming the music artist you adored since childhood, albeit you find your singing talent is only good for the shower. Since taking some freelance jobs as content writer and blogger, I’ve realized the enormous implication of my decision to stop working full-time or do an 8 to 5 type of work again. I tried hearkening to the call of the “Divine Discontent”, as one lady writer calls it. It’s a fact – everyone must work to pay the bills (and they’re piling up monthly). That’s why I do such jobs, and be paid for what I like to do most – write. The initial experience of working on my desktop daily, solely to write articles on a variety of topics was a breath of fresh air. Suddenly, I’m excited again to do something, create, and push the limits of my creativity. I learned that in content writing, one has to continually give fresh and original ideas (plagiarism not allowed), else they’ll not pass Copyscape and similar word-threshing machines. No problem, our professors in the university taught us the value of being original. Then there’s the challenge of writing in a language which is not your native tongue. It’s different when you’re working on some technical report, the jargons are familiar territories. It’s another story when you revert to magazine-type of writing, blogging and creative writing, although I would admit this is the real love of my life.
It is one thing to write, for you to read alone. When you simply hide them afterwards, only those you knew can read. It is another, if the world can read them. Imagine subjecting your inner thoughts to a billion of different perspectives? Well, for bloggers this is what it is all about. Anyone has always the option to go anonymous but you lose your byline in the process.
There is the trade-off. At times, it is simply a writing exercise, these blogging. Writers, like other professions need to hone their craft. The common advice to aspiring, yet serious writers is to write at least an essay or short articles a day. For fiction writers, inspiration is most often generated from the world around the writer – from conversations, characters, ideas and events that happen. The practice of writing some great lines or dialogues in small notebooks is also applicable and helpful.
The greatest challenge to full-time writing is the feeling of those we live with everyday. The change in our lifestyle can be puzzling to others. Sometimes, writers are perceived as bums, just sitting all day punching those keyboards. Life changing decisions such as taking a full-time home-based freelance writing job may not be met with goodwill by those who depend on us, or those who previously know us doing the “office work” kind of job. It’s been six months now since I left my old job. The feeling of regret is not there yet. In fact, I just feel kinda free.

Essays and articles

Taking the Art of Making Scrapbooks to a New Level

The rise in popularity of scrap booking has been mainly due to two things: art for art’s sake, and making use of our free time in a more productive and creative way. For most people, this is a hobby. To some, it is a kind of self-expression, like music, painting or poetry. Widely categorized in the crafts section, scrap booking can be taken to a new level, without taking all the fun. Here are some ways in which the art of clipping and snipping can be fully maximized:

1.) Use it in Preparing Your Work Portfolio

For creative writers, designers, photographers and others who are into these kind of work, you can prepare a portfolio of all your jobs (freelance or full-time contracts) into one interesting collage showing photos, proposals, concept notes and feedback from clients. This can be done in both desktop and paper-bound catalogues. Each job profile you’ve done in the past can be retold in pictures and words arranged in a compelling manner to attract, inform and persuade would-be clients to hire you. The point is – try to be out of the ordinary.

2.) Write your Journal in a Scrapbook.

Who says that scrapbooks are only about pictures? There is no rule in scrap booking that limits your creativity. While we normally write our journals in notebooks and diaries, take it to another level by pasting pictures and other stuffs that are associated with the memories of events in your life or family. You can add a ticket of the favorite sports game you’ve watched with your husband, or the airline ticket of your latest trip to hiking in the Andes. The possibilities are endless. It could be a petal of the roses you’ve received which you kept pressed in the pages of your favorite book. You don’t have to be commercial and splurge on materials sold in the stationery shops. Just be creative, sentimental and enjoy what you’re doing.

3.) Promote Scrap booking as a solution to the world’s problem with waste.

Most of the time, we buy ready- to- use materials in creating our scrapbooks. Still, a lot of us stick to the good-old way of recycling things like papers, candy wrappers, plastic wrappers, gift wrappers, pieces of cloths, dried leaves and flowers, etc. By doing so, we help curtail the “throw-away” culture that explains most of the waste disposal problems in most societies. You did not only enjoy the craft, you are also helping ease Mother Earth’s woes.

Essays and articles

Working from Home: Will it Work for me?

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The modern work place is changing. This is the consensus of most business experts in the face of today’s economic uncertainties. Unemployment is a common problem, not only in developing countries, but more so in places like Europe and the US. No wonder, more and more employees are opting to work from home, whether in set-ups called “telecommuting,” freelance work or home-based enterprises. For working mothers, the choice is tempting. Despite the advancement of technologies and ready-to-cook meals, most women are still finding themselves coping up with the demands of their careers and their families.

The Harvard Business Review blog site identified some of the common reasons why employees prefer to work from home. Among those interviewed, the most common reasons cited included “increased focus, greater creativity, saved time that would otherwise have been spent commuting, and feeling relaxed and comfortable.”
After more than six years of working overseas, I have decided to try this work scheme. It helped that I had invested on buying laptops and other gadgets that will start my home-based office. Like all enterprising women, I am ready to take the risks. At the back of my mind is the nagging thought of the demands of a monthly budget that needed a full-time job salary. How am I going to meet them?Let me share some of the tips I have learned along the way:

1.) Take an inventory of your assets and liabilities.

With a small start-up, anyone can set up a home-office. You have to be your own secretary and PA, as well as the office cleaner and maintenance crew. A 10-20 manned office can be managed by one person, and that is you. Office equipments include a table and a comfortable chair, telephone lines and wireless internet connection. A good corner in the house can be the work station. Experts advised that a separate work space provide a psychological conditioning that makes one separate house work from the office work even in the same abode. I chose the corner in the house which is also the library. The references like an Oxford Dictionary, writing books and other materials are just within my reach. Outside the window, I could get a glimpse of the neighbor’s garden where an old black berry tree stands. The over-all setting is perfect for writing.

2.) Expand connections, links and networks.

Join a web-based outsourcing company. It may take sometime to earn what you normally receive in an office-based job, but persistence will pay off in the long run. First build your reputation as a reliable writer. The offers will come pouring in. Expand your e-networks with sites like Linked-in, ezine.com and many others found on the net.

3.) Aim to constantly improve your skills.

Every skill needs upgrading. So every day, write an essay or article of 300 or more words as an exercise to flex your writing muscles. Like doing yoga and physical exercise, this is a routine that one should aim to be disciplined at. As a newbie, you may also need a mentor-critic to help you discover areas that need to be strengthened or affirmed.

These tips may sound so easy, but nothing rolls until one kicks to start. The perks of working from home include taking a nap when you want to, a coffee break when the urge is there, or putting your feet up when you feel like doing it. In short, you are your own boss. And if you wish to play music while working, you can do so without thinking of somebody’s reaction to them. Of course,who does not dream of a working place where you can listen to the sound of crashing waves or smell the flowers in bloom. A writer deserves a good place to hone his craft. Meantime, I am finding my current job status as quite challenging.