A Cup of Coffee, Mindless Musings and an Afternoon of Freelance Writing Jobs

It’s my second time to sit here in my newly found work area for weekends. The French Baker at connecting bridge of Ali Mall and SM Cubao. Looking back on my February posts, my blog really looked old, un-updated and boring. I didn’t have much to tell you about recent quests, adventures or trips. Surprisingly, I’ve somewhat curbed my need to be always away. Maybe this is all because of the financial constraints with the family, but I found ways to keep busy and stay put for a while, my freelance writing jobs.

My new home feels really sweet to lounge around in all day. Finally I have more freedom to decorate and arrange stuff the way I want. Some say that freedom and peace of mind do come at a price. Yeah, but I gladly pay for whatever price just to enjoy it. This is the primary reason why I looked into freelance writing jobs to amend my finances.

But of course, there are times when holing up at home becomes unproductive. So I started looking for ways to stay motivated and avoid the languid feeling that seems to always pull me  to bed or the sofa. One great thing about freelance writing jobs is that you control your schedule and work at your own pace and time. Though I made one corner of my home into a work area, the sight of sofa and the bed can be really tempting. So when I feel really unmotivated and lazy, I just pack my stuff and head off quite stops in the mall or nearby coffee shops.

Freelance writing jobs is something that I’ve been working on and off since 2007. It also sustained me when I was schooling and unemployed. I’ve encountered a lot of great topics and was given tasked that ranged from simple blog articles to product reviews and press releases. I think writing and earning this way is fun. But what I really noticed is that I can write great content when I’m looking into great resources. My current clients seem to love my work and I am also grateful for the opportunities coming up. But whew, my personal writing is getting really bad.

This blog looked really bare and boring without much content. I’m starting to wonder now how I can draw readers here and take a look at my posts. On the other hand, I guess it’s okay if people don’t read at all. It’s a personal blog anyway and everything here are just random ramblings and thoughts on things that comes to mind.

I guess writing on several topics this week had really knocked my brain and now I’m updating my blog with my mindless blah. It’s all that’s left really. I need to do some brain exercises to get back on track and continue working with my freelance writing jobs. What really keeps me motivated to do these and helps me avoid the dreaded writer’s block is allowing some space in between projects. Back then I didn’t have that privilege, but now with higher rates, I can easily choose what’s my next project and discuss with my clients the time frame for my tasks.

Moonlighting and Freelance Writing

I didn’t notice how January passed by with a lot of things to do and planning at the office. It’s the usual stuff done each year to set target and strategies, but last year I was not yet involved much. This year it was different, I also had my share of reports and stats so I joined in the hubbub of busy looking people.

But apart from office work, I also am thankful to get more freelance writing jobs from odesk.com and my current local client. This keeps me busy for a couple of hours per night while enjoying a cup of White Coffee or Hot Chocolate. Just recently, I also started a VA job with an Aussie Professor. I never really imagined taking a VA job, but what made me take this one is that it’s very much related to what I was taking up in my post-grad course. Working with her is like working for one of my professors in NCPAG, I get a refreshing dose of topics I used to read about while writing articles which I feel like I’m submitting for a class.

These writing assignments I take now can easily pay for my month’s rent, I can buy good stuff for my son and myself. But this wasn’t the case a couple of years back. I started writing for a meager pay. I was happy back then, never realizing how much more I could have been earning if I worked for direct clients. Though I consider writing jobs to be an exercise of my skill and passion for writing, it actually felt good being praised, rewarded and earn something for it.

not bad for a week’s earnings @odesk.com 🙂

So from my small earnings, I learned the tricks of the trade and how to bargain for a better compensation. It will be easy if you’re confident with your work and when you can provide samples. Soon I was able to build a client base, just a couple of them which provided positive feedback for my work.

I believe  I can earn a lot from freelance writing, but I still consider this as a hobby and a sideline, I shouldn’t stress myself with too much writing assignments. I simply choose my topics, work leisurely and produce quality articles which satisfy clients. 🙂

Currently, I consider my freelance writing job as one of the ways for me to earn extra and save for my escape fund. Soon, my one big bang before the big day will be realized!

Keep on Chasing Sunshine, A Bright Look at 2012!

In 2011, I discovered several blogs on travelling and spent hours reading, browsing at pictures, marveling at their guts and their disposition in handling funds, finding inspiration and encouragement to feed the hunger for more travels. It was with the Sole Sister’s inspiration that I now came up with my very own 2012 Vision Board.

It looks a little jam-packed though because there’s a lot that I want to achieve for 2012. I know that everything will all fall into place eventually, but this board will be my guide to my goals and will serve as a milestone marker for the year.

For some years now, I’ve been juggling roles as regular public servant by day, graduate student in the evening, a weekend dragonboat rower, freelance article writer,  an occasional traveler, but the hardest one was being a long distance mom to my son Teloy. Despite my willingness to eventually settle down and spend more time with my son, I  still feel my itchy feet wanting some good scratching. So I’m working somethings up so I can do stuff I love together.

For this year, my major goals are:

1. Move Out and Move In.
I’ve been sharing an apartment unit with my cousin for almost 6 years now. It has become uncomfortably suffocating living with such a “nega” environment so I made it one of my priorities to move out and move in to a better location. I;ve started scouting since Oct 2011 and finally found the perfect 2-bedroom abode two cartwheels away from the office in Dec and I’ll be sharing it with one of my co-workers. Will move in January 5, 2012!

2. Home Sweet Home
We were never rich and my parents worked blood, sweat and tears for each of us to have a good education and better life. It took 20 years for my mom to complete her payment for the lot we have now in the province, and because life was hard and we lost a lot, our home is now in a bad state of disrepair. I want to get a housing loan and have improvements, repairs and renovation started this year. In 5 years or so, I’m considering a reassignment and settling down there with Teloy anyway. But I really want to give my mom our dream home – simple and small but filled with love, laughter and happiness.

3. Ride a Bike. Seriously.
This I think will forever stay in my bucket list. This year, I will seriously, seriously, seriously learn to ride a bike!

4. Paddle More.
After the race in Bora, everything just seemed to get in my way and stop me from training and paddling. For this year, I want to get back on the boat, feel the cool morning air against my face and smell the stinky waters of Manila Bay once again!

5. Travel with Teloyskie!
I’m pretty excited about doing this. For last year, I was able to bond more with my son though plans of traveling did not materialize. Teloy just turned 5 and I can see how he takes in travelling around like a duck to water. Both my parents and Teloy are now based in Batuan, Ticao Is. Masbate. My mom takes Teloy when she visits Daraga or come here in Manila. For the times I’ve traveled with Teloy, I observed how he loved looking out the windows of moving buses or FX and make funny stories and anecdotes of things he see. Also he’s not byahilo and is not terrified of waves when crossing from Bulan, Sorsogon to Batuan, Masbate even when the trip is a little on the rough side. I wonder where to start planning a fun trip with a 5-yr old travel buddy though. Any suggestions please?!

6. Start a Travel Fund
I want to spend 31 days of my 31st year travelling across SE Asia! I’ve started saving my vacation leaves and have started actively accepting writing assignments from Odesk.com. I hope to make 50 grand for this trip, exclusive of air fare through moonlighting and the recent lifestyle changes that I made.

7. Get Engaged. Lol.
Goal no. 5 might actually be a “despidida de soltera” (hope the spelling’s correct) for myself. Promised my mom I’ll start thinking about settling down seriously when I’m 30 and yes I’m keeping that promise Mader. I will be spending some time with Choy for this year while he’s scouring for a new contract abroad. So, there’ll be more time together, get to know each other better, travel and explore together with Teloy, like a happy family maybe, uhmm maybe.. and maybe..

And wow, that was quite long. I had fun doing this vision board and I am hopeful I’d achieve more for this year. My gratitude for everyone who stayed and made my 2011 a successful year in every way, extends this year as we all take a bright look at 2012!

A Grateful Year: Recount of My 2011

Last year, I came up with a year end review of my 2010. It had been a year of balanced good and bad experiences, and 2011 started really good for me. Now it is over, and as I recount my experiences, I’m shocked at how busy the year was for me.

2011 started with so much gratefulness in my heart, and it has ended with so much more. A recent facebook status from a friend said “Grateful people get more than what they are grateful for” a passage from Bo Sanchez made me realize how true it is for my 2011.

I made a list of goals for 2011 and so far, I’ve successfully met some of them.

Yes, I was able to build stronger family ties. an added bonus was, a close tie with my 2nd family as well – my co-workers. and for the later part of the year, an even stronger bond with my high school and college tropa (10years and counting).

Yes, I am finally debt-free!! Though most of what I’ve earned for this year went to paying accumulated debts for the past 2 years, I was able to manage and still live well over what’s left.

No, I wasn’t able to finish DPM 🙁

No, I wasn’t able to climb Mt. Apo. 🙁

No, I still did not learn to ride a bike!!

But, yes I came back to writing. I finally got my back on track and found clients who recognize good work and compensate well. yipee! 🙂

Then, I remember making a top 3 travel wish list for 2011, missed out 1 but was able to have more!

Sta. Cruz Dragonboat Exhibition Race March 2011.
Photo by Mr. Abet Lagula
AQ at BIDBF. Photo by Mr. Abet Lagula

It all started with a busy racing schedule on March. All the training was put to good use as my team Aqua Fortis joined in several racing events for the summer. Then there’s the Sta. Cruz exhibition race and the Boracay International Dragonboat Festival which brought me to yesssssssssss Bora for the first time!!!

It was a wow experience for me setting foot in the beautiful island of Boracay for the first time. And though this trip was spent mostly on the boat, I still loved it – just feeling the sand on my toes and seeing crystal blue waters each morning is divine! I made a promise to go spend some time here again soon.

Then just two weeks after, I flew to Puerto Princesa, Palawan with my most dear friends. An experience that brought us together again after many years. It also gave us a chance to bond and talk about how things had been going, how things are going on at the moment and how things will be in the future.

We were able to visit the different islands off honda bay and swam and snorkel our hearts out at Snake Island and Pandan Islands.

It was the highlight of the mid year and summer season for me. It was apparent with my skin color how much I enjoyed the sun and beaches for the summer of 2011!

The Palawan trip also brought me to one of the world’s Natural Wonders – the Underground River in Sabang, Palawan. I was very lucky to have visited this place at least once in my life and I am also putting this on would-visit-back-with-teloy trips one day soon.

This trip concluded the first half of my 2011. For the month of June, work started to get busy, and I seriously wanted to get my flawless (yes, flawless!) skin back so I took a rest from rowing.

July came in and ended with an unexpected surprise. It was something that gave spice to my single-lifehood and had a bittersweet ending. Still, I’m giving it (or him) another chance and so the future looks brighter with renewed fate and beliefs.

 August came in heavy in emotion and a sudden urge to escape. The long awaited trip to Sagada and my goal of crossing out the first on my top 3 travel wish list loomed ahead, but typhoon Mina got in the way and gave me an unplanned sojourn in the cold and typhoon drenched city of Baguio.

Maybe it wasn’t really time for me to get to know Sagada yet. So I’m putting it yet again on my top travel wish list for 2012.

September took a dragging. Though nobody noticed it at work, I took advantage of the company and the time spent with my co-workers.

Their support was a tangible thing, not spoken but sincerely felt. And so I was very much grateful. Part of my September was the day trip to Silang Cavite and Tagaytay.

view of Mt. Mayon from the
2nd flr of Embarcadero

And, still experiencing that emotional turmoil, being okay and not okay, I seek refuge in the comfort of being with my son, Teloyskie. I took a vacation home and came back to work with a vengeance.

When October came in, everything was set 
on a roller coaster ride. My “home” project started, as well as a food trip saga. I’ve been wanting to move into another apartment for the longest time, and the search started for this month. Along with it was some amazing food discoveries. 

The burger project in Maginhawa St. in Teacher’s village allowed me to customize my burger and gave me my first  taste of blueberry milk shake.

This also made me work on gaining weight so people around me started taking me dining and food tasting. But still I was more into coffee tasting and how I love meet ups with fellow Aquababes Debie and Osh at Toastbox for a cup of skinny coffee!

Work also became demanding along with a new and demanding boss. Busy could not completely describe how this month was, then it ended with a work related trip to Fontana Leisure park in Pampanga. 

November was a blast! This month took me to my top 2 travel wish list for 2011 – Davao. Though it was a rush 48 hour experience, it was still a trip that took me to the southern part of the country – Mindanao!

It was a busy work-related trip but we were also able to go around the souvenir shops suggested at the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific – Smile Magazine.


I also took my mandatory leave in the middle part of November so I was also able to visit Teloyskie for his 5th Birthday! Happy!

December probably was the busiest part of my year with the long list of events and activities. There were a lot of christening, bridal showers, weddings and Christmas parties. All these events, gave me some of the best time with my family and friends. And showed me all things that I should be more thankful for – the people who were with me all this time. Thank you for all the love and support! Another year comes, and I have 365 more days to show my appreciation and love for all of you.

Reading, Thinking and Planning

My mom always considered me the layas, the lakwtsera and sometimes she even thinks that I might not settle down despite having a son. I know I would someday, maybe until I tame my wanderlust. I know it’s not anytime soon but I will.

In my 29 years, I didn’t have a lot of achievements nor savings. I can consider myself as a live-for the moment gal. I know how to enjoy life and face my issues. Because of this, a lot of people think that I’m tough – yes I also think so, but there are cases when I have a hard time convincing myself that I am indeed tough. And over the years, I found that I enjoyed my time alone travelling as I contemplate on the things that I have experienced, observed and felt.
I’ve blogging as an outlet to steam off, to have a venue for my excitement and experiences with my son and for a many other reasons. While I enjoy writing and earning during my free time, I also started reading, and the more I read about travel journals and experience by fellow Filipinas who also loved travelling, I realized that I too wanted to write like that… yes, the blogs I follow got me more inspired and motivated to recount my lakwatsa moments. The blogs like Nina Fuente’s JustWandering.org or NoSpamNoVirusNoKidding and SoleSisters‘ blog have encouraged me to go on and scratch the itch – to travel, to discover and simply to experience.
So, even with my spontaneous nature, I am now trying to plan things out – possible trips, moonlighting, how i can travel around with my son during his school vacations and others… and I’ve started it with one big step, getting my passport for the first time and I’ll be receiving it on Monday! Yahoo!

T’was the Year of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

2010 started unfriendly with me. I was job ess and broke – scrimping on the meager writer’s earnings for my board and lodging. It was indeed an ugly yet challenging start for a part time student, part time writer, long distance mom and a restless viajera like me.
Work and Studies
Career-wise, the past year placed me in a state of crisis. I lost almost all confidence in my writing, I’ve a number of unfinished projects which I shamelessly ignored and forgot. I felt the need to do something else aside from staring blankly on empty computer screen. Even school papers seemed too much to digest for my ulcerated brain. After finishing the semester, I got two jobs – one which lasted for 2 months and another which lasted for about 3 months.
My stay at the first one was short and sweet, it was fun yet two months wasn’t enough for me to be fully engaged in the job. I was pirated by the next job in just a matter of hours. We all thought that I’d be swimming in here like a fish in the water soon as I jumped in but it just wasn’t like that. I was overwhelmed all the time and it seemed like I couldn’t get things right anyway I do it. Soon I learned to love and hate the job and the people, the trips, the overtime work and all else in between. But again, something else came up, with better offers and a more interesting job description – and finally that is where I am right now.
For what went well in my work and studies: Learned to prioritize
What went wrong: Procrastination, Failing to plan and planning to fail..
Places for improvement: writing and reading habits, schooling (again), personal development
Travel and Leisure
Despite being broke, I was able to go to different places and experience new things- thanks to some good old souls! 🙂
Some of the best trips I had happened this year though they were all confined here in Luzon.
Q1 took me to Mt. Pulag in Benguet with Roslee, Jane and Tons, Baguio, Anawangin Cove in Zamabales and Mt Batulao in Batangas.
Q2 was spent in Tagaytay, EK then in Bicol where we once again visited Amater to relive our high school and college vacation days. It was also during this period that I experienced Nagsasa – which is now one of my most favorite places in Luzon and the Mt. Tarak climb which rendered me crippled for a couple of days in July.
Q3 trips where all limited to OB’s except for Jean’s vacation in September. I was able visit most part of Laguna such as LB, Sta. Cruz, Liliw, Pila, Nagcarlan, Majayjay and others as part of a field trip with Health Implementers. I also spent a week in Albay for a training and this gave me precious time with Teloy while working. Q3 also took me to Calaruega, a quiet beach in Bataan, a turtle conservatory and to Mt. Samat.
Q4 started with an epic trip to Luisiana, Laguna then to Cam Sur for the 1st CamSur Int’l. DB Fest. A month was spent in Bicol and then the rest of this period was consumed by gigs, gimmicks and parties.
For lack of anything else to do, I spent a lot of time climbing walls and seriously rowing. And just when I think i was getting good at climbing, work turns up and made me busy. So I need to do this again regularly, luckily found climb buddies and we’ve now set some scheds.
This has got to be the good or best part of my 2010. The last part should be the Bad, but it’s not actually bad.. just a realization of thoughts, decisions and moves which made me feel bad and worked out to be better.
People
I’ve met and got to know many incredible people this year. They’ve spiced up my 2010 with much life, laughter and love.. hehe and I also strengthened the ties I have with the bestest of friends. Thanks for the connection, for being awesome, for the learnings you’ve shared, for the inspiration and for continuously nudging me when everything seems to stack up.
2010 is also a year of losing and gaining..
of failure to keep communication lines open,
of keeping mum about issues best resolved openly..
of being unassuming and ignoring..
it is a year of avoidance..
But then, this year made me appreciate some very important people in my life – my family. In the past years of working here in Manila, I wasn’t able to spend much time with them especially my Teloyskie. 2010 gave me a couple of months to be a hands-on mom to my son. I got to know him better – his likes, his interests, his tempers, his attitudes and his character.
I learned how mule-headed we are both.
How to tease him mercilessly until he grow mad.
How to quiet down his cries with a promise of chocolates.
How to repair broken bikes and dislocated car wheels,
I learned to kiss skinned knees and chase ‘lagnat-laki’ away,
with cuddles and even tighter squeeze. 🙂
My family has always been very supportive and it was this year that I have fully appreciated them. I’ve never thanked them enough for the things they did for me and my son. 2010, with all the challenges tied to it made me realize this like a slap in the face. Been too caught up with my issues earlier on 2010 that I overlooked the challenges that my family is going through at the same time. Eventually life shook me hard enough to see this. As the year comes to end, everything seems to fall into their places…
When 2011 closes I’d be 10/10 satisfied if I can achieve these ~
1. closer family ties. more vacations spent at home and being a mom to Teloy – (non quantifiable)
2. debt free!
3. complete DPM asap!
4. learn to ride a bike..
5. climb Mt. Apo
6. go back to writing
7. cross out at least 10 off my goal list for 2010.
Habits to cultivate to achieve my goals..
An essential technique I’ve learned this year is to take notes.. we take notes to remember things… and we write to de-clutter our minds.
There are still a lot of loose ends but 2011 came in friendly with a bright career path ahead. There are promises of more travel, learning and discovering.

writer on haitus

i’ve visited this blog many times in the past couple of months only to be depressed at the things i read. the last readable post was written months ago. i have gone on a forced haitus, but hopefully i can get back to writing here soon as i settle into my new work environment… ciao!!

Musings: Motivating Words for a Proscrastinating Blogger

hoping to find more time to update my blog..
our office now has a server – internet speed is controlled, as well as 100% of sites i know are blocked off. (what’s the use of paying for a broadband now?)
hoping to earn more, and just buy myself a laptop and subscribe to smartbro wireless.
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okay more than work –
i hope i can find sometime to finish the book i just bought – twilight! (super late na to read this)
been hearing a lot of reviews, even got the 4 ebooks of the series. i really think i’m beginning to be a fanatic.

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but really… hope i can put in more time in day.
more time to spend with teloy..
more time to enjoy everything that life has to offer..

Awakening of the Hibernating Blogger

Its been more than a month since my last update. the weight of office+post graduate school+part time online jobs is now taking its toll on me. Part time job huh? feels more like its my full time job!

Sure i can still carry on, but its also been 2 months since i last went home to bicol and spent time with teloy. Not that i don’t really want to. schedules been real tight and i been trying to squeeze out some breathing space but…

so its almost october, we’d be having about 2weeks sembreak though i’m having thoughts if i’d still get on with the next semester. maybe i will, hope this time its easier with christmas just around the corner.

wow christmas… was it that long since i’ve last updated here?

Paid Forum Posting at Mylot.com

Been at this site since last year. Saw it from a thread in Girltalk discussing about ways of money making online. I forgot who posted it but she also left a warning bout the low…. really low earnings. I signed up for it still, thinking that it wouldn’t really hurt to post a few ideas, and comments on the forum considering that I never get too busy at work.
Finally, after 14 months of posting on and off on Mylot, I am now qualified for the $10 payout! I was never really serious about posting there but I’m just glad that they’re giving me something from what I’ve blabbered about. It was an effortless job and I wasn’t always active which is why I took this long to reach payout. There were times that I really am amazed by those who reach payout only weeks after joining.
Now I’m not too sure if I should continue with Mylot posting, but if I stop I’d sure miss it.