Friday, August 21, 2009

Quiz: How 'Green' Are You As A Writer?

Overall, the writing lifestyle has its environmental perks; many writers work from home offices, sighing with relief at avoiding carpools, long commutes, and rising gas prices, but we also stockpile enough books and magazines to start our own libraries. Are you a truly green writer, worthy of the recycled trash laurel, or do you walk around with Godzilla’s carbon footprints? Find out if your thriftiness and eco-friendly ways truly mesh into a lifestyle so earth-positive, the penguins will sing glorious songs about you in decades to come with this quiz.

When your printer runs out of ink, what do you do?
a. Get out the latex gloves and CSI syringe kit; it’s time to refill!
b. I turn in my ink cartridges for recycling and buy reconditioned cartridges.
c. Pop a new cartridge in and throw the old one in the trash; recycling that little square won’t save the earth.
d. Since ink is more expensive than printers, I just buy a new printer and use the old one as a yard decoration.

How do you prefer to do interviews?
a. By phone, and I type notes while using a digital voice recorder and rechargeable batteries.
b. By e-mail, although I have to watch my spam filter and make sure nothing gets trapped with the massive manhood ads.
c. Face to face, especially if I can ride my “Jimmy Olson cub reporter” super-scooter.
d. I’ll hop a plane to get the ultimate interview, even if it’s just the county fair recipe winner two cities over; I need the frequent flyer miles.

When you’re ready to get a new computer, what do you do with the old one?
a. I find a charity or group that refurbishes computers and gives them to the needy.
b. I pay the extra fee to have the components recycled, even if it still works.
c. I give it to my hacker nephew so he can continue his plans for online world domination while stealing my identity.
d. I keep my computer until it’s a useless doorstop, then pile it with the others out back to use in building my fort.

If you have to go out into the big, bad world to do an interview, which mode of transportation do you use?
a. Subway or bus all the way, baby!
b. I drive a vegetable-oil-powered vehicle, and knock everyone off their diets with the smell of French fries as I pass by.
c. I live in a rural area where there’s no public transportation, so I drive a Ford Escort with a gun rack.
d. I drive a Hummer with a spotted owl hanging from the rear view mirror, and I’m selling off body parts on eBay to buy the gas.

How do you back up files and manuscripts?
a. I archive files to an external hard drive and back up works-in-progress on a USB flash drive; I hardly use any paper.
b. I save most files on a CD, and use recycled paper to print out drafts that need proofreading.
c. I print out everything, from the forwarded joke my mother sent me to market guidelines, but I do turn the paper over and use it again.
d. What do you mean, back up files?

When you need new office supplies, do you:
a. Save some gas, check online at Freecycle and see if someone has a chair to give away.
b. Hit the yard sales! There’s got to be a five-dollar filing cabinet in good shape out there somewhere.
c. Ask my friend’s cousin Vito if anything has fallen off a truck lately.
d. Call up Staples and see if they’ll deliver a single ream of printer paper to my door.

Plagiarism: reduce, reuse, or recycle?
a. Reduce! Generating new thoughts leaves no carbon footprint, and strengthens the brain.
b. Reuse! Why think up new stuff? It may be illegal and bad for the karma, but it’s good for the earth.
c. Recycle! I can re-write that article and sell it online. All I lose is a little chunk of my soul and my self-respect.
d. This is a silly question. I’m not answering silly questions.

How freely do you give away business cards?
a. I write down a person’s email address and send them a virtual business card.
b. I have one business card with a tiny bungee cord attached; when the person walks away with it, the card snaps back into my pocket.
c. I’ll give one out if an editor, agent or Stephen King asks for it.
d. I go to writers’ conferences, find a balcony, and shower the crowd with them like Mardi Gras beads.

How big is your book and magazine stockpile?
a. Pretty small; I find what I need to know through e-books, websites and blogs.
b. Small to medium; I look up markets online, read back issues at the library, and only buy something if my article is in it.
c. Medium to large; I still like having something in my hands to read, but I give out old publications to nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and as treats for Halloween.
d. Huge! My picture hangs in a place of honor in most advertisers’ offices, and the subscription clerk has me on speed dial.

Has the eco-friendly movement changed your writing habits?
a. Yes, I only submit work to online magazines or publications printed on recycled paper.
b. Yes, I’m writing queries for all magazines about living the green life.
c. Yeah, I’ll probably churn out a quiz just like this one. How hard could it be?
d. No; if global warming happens and half the earth is covered in water, my chances for getting published just shot up into the stratosphere.

Scoring: A-5 points; B-4 points; C-3 points; D-2 points

Your score:
40-50: Congratulations, Al Gore is bicycling over to your house now to give you a compostable Certificate of Accomplishment and your lovely Green Pen award, made out of corn.

30-39: Pretty good; you’re cutting down on resources, and saving some money. You might need a few more deductions come tax time, though.

20-29: Not bad, but not great, either. Kick it up a notch and slap some solar panels on that laptop computer, or the polar bears will be bunking with you.

2-19: Watch out when crossing the street; Ed Begley, Jr. has his electric car all charged up, and is gunning for you. When he strikes, you won’t even get an interview afterward.