Wednesday, 30 November 2016

My Weird 'Green' Christmas

Since green lifestyle blogger @greenrosielife challenged us to contribute to her new environmental initiative #GoingGreenLinky, I thought I'd blog about my weird green Christmas and all the ways we try to be environmentally friendly at Christmas time, and all year round!

Christmas gifts
In an effort to be 'green', economical and imaginative at Christmas, many of our presents come from charity shops, often 'like new', but for a fraction of the cost and recycled. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a good motto to remember.

Christmas deocrations
I was in Esk last weekend - a huge retail warehouse in Eastbourne. The isles and isles of Christmas decorations seemed a bit crazy. At home, our Christmas decorations are 30 years old. They come out every year and will continue to do so. Where's the demand for all these new decorations come from? It seems that many people throw their decorations away every year. What a shame. Ours go back into the loft for next year.

Wrapping paper
It seems wasteful to throw perfectly good wrapping paper away after one use, so our family get recycled presents wrapped in recycled wrapping paper. They're used to it and no-one bats an eyelid! One year, they got presents wrapped in wallpaper samples, because we'd been reviewing our decorative schemes (...I was going to say 'family and friends' and then realised we have no friends. Perhaps this is why).

Left overs
We don't throw away perfectly good food. Leftovers gets frozen, or made into another dish the following day. You'd be amazed what you can freeze!

We mostly send out Christmas newsletters attached to emails instead of cards these days. We only send cards to old folk who seem to value them. Our fun and cheerful newsletter actually takes a lot more effort to write than a Christmas card and it doesn't use much carbon to deliver by email. To us, the effort involved in producing that fully illustrated newsletter is much better than sending a commercial card from a pack of 50 anyway!

We try to keep fuel consumption to a minimum by having the heating on 15 degrees centigrade in the entrance hall. The lounge radiators are bigger, so the lounge heats up nicely, and we have faux fur throws over our legs. Our house is well insulated, we wear thick jumpers and padded jackets, and we only have the heating on for three hours a day! But we do turn the heat up if we have guests! We might go wild and leave the heating on for longer if we're relaxing at home this Christmas Day!

Other ideas for a green Christmas
Shop locally.
Gift a gift to the environment, such as a charitable donation to an environmental cause.
Make gifts at home.
Cut cards up to make gift tags for next year.

Recycle, Reduce and Reuse... everything!

Have a great Christmas! And think green!

Look for more ideas on the Going Green Linky blog

Or write your own!  #GoingGreenLinky

Friday, 25 November 2016

Writing inspiration, last minute changes, and self-publishing

I had a couple of articles published in Writing magazine recently, on the topic of self-publishing. It showed my newest project under production, "The Little Book of Freelance Writing," so I thought I'd better get on with publishing it!

The manuscript had been steadily growing over the course of the past year, while I produced stories, ideas and interviews on writing topics. Some were intended for magazines but never quite made it. Others did, and appeared in Writers' Forum earlier that year. More chapters and sections were written specifically for the new book, plugging gaps in information, providing sources of inspiration, and helping it all hang together.

There were a few ups and downs; a last minute change and a bit of a rewrite at the eleventh hour, but I drew from author interviews and my own experiences to bring stories to life, inspire readers, and show how others have overcome big challenges to succeed in this very competitive industry.

So finally, my newest title, just out, is 'The Little Book of Freelance Writing - writing ideas, opportunities, inspiration, and success stories'. It's a short easy read, designed to inspire, educate and get writers thinking about where to go next.

It includes interviews with authors and comment about the industry. Best selling author Mary Mackie explains how her work was inspired by living in a National Trust house. Comedy writer Jon Rance explains how he got a publishing deal with Hodder and Stoughton after he self-published his hugely successful first novel. Best selling thriller writer, Rachel Abbot, explains how she sold millions of copies of her book by publishing her way.

The book also looks at opportunities for new writers in different commercial markets, how to come up with new ideas, and how to pitch to editors. It covers rights and contracts, and how to find new homes for articles that get rejected. There's a chapter on blogging, a chapter on self-publishing, a piece on website content creation, and lots more. 

It's available as a paperback book here for £4.99 
Or as an ebook for Kindle here for £1.99