Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017.

Favorite Writing Tools

As you can see from the feature photo, I’m learning to be a much more organized person. It’s been a long road, for sure, but well worth the effort. I’m not completely there yet, but better than I was.

This is some of what’s happening this week:

  • Easy morning’s on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I love these mornings of waking up slowly, doing some reading, and getting my thoughts together for the day. I’ll also me doing simple yoga/stretching those mornings.
  • Brunch at Aroma Joe’s on Monday, while working on a writing project.
  • At least one photography session. I’ve been working on some projects, both personal and for the blogs, and need to create some graphics.
  • Two morning walks, now that it isn’t too hot outside. I’ll bring the camera to photograph pretty scenery.
  • I need to add some posts to one of the blogs.
  • I have some fun projects to work on!
  • Some mini workouts will be happening.
  • The chores will get done.
  • I need to create a few book covers.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright September, 2017. busy week ahead, to make up for the fact that I missed out on doing so much this week due to my day job. I love the number of blocks available for each day on this weekly planner, and that I can see at a glance what I have to (or get to!) do in the coming week. I love the style, and the crisp look.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright September, 2017. this to-do list pad is great. The pad is spiral-bound, so the sheets will stay securely on the pad until I’ve finished everything on a list. There is plenty of space to note the most important tasks for the day or week, on a neatly written list. And it looks nice. Can’t beat that! With this pad, I can go into a bit more detail than with the weekly planner.

I chose the inkwell botanical planner and to-do list pad because I liked the black and white look, but there are others to choose from. I also love the fact that these products can be personalized. They are both put out by Stuck on You, with more stationary items as well. The company was founded in 1995, by mom of three Carrie Felton. They make attractive products for people of all ages. I’ll bet you’ll find something to match your office.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright September, 2017. big notebooks are great for many things. They are about 8″x10″, and are quite thick. This one is my financials notebook, and I’m using it to help me to get my financial life in order, and to plan for my future financially.

I’ve recently read The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness by Bari Tessler. You can read my review of her book here.

“Money… is about our relationship with ourselves.”~ Bari Tessler

Such a true statement.

I’m also reading Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach, and am filling out the workbook, and I follow Carrie Smith Nicholson on Careful Cents. I can use all the financial advice I can get!

I have two more of these large hard-cover notebooks, in different designs. One is for notes on things for the writing business.

The other is my planner notebook. This is my master planner of all I know I want to accomplish. From this planner, I split things by week using the weekly planner above. But this notebook serves another purpose as well. It helps me to decide, through a number of questions I ask myself at each ‘meeting’, what is working and what is not. What I should scrap, and what I should keep moving forward with.

Each of these notebooks has an attached ribbon to use as a bookmark. I look for deals, and have found two at Wal*Mart for $3.00 each.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright September, 2017. also love this journal. I found it and another of the same size at AC More (2 for $10.00). They are half the size of the ones mentioned above, but also thick. Not all journals have that going for them. These journals have soft covers, and an elastic to use as a bookmark or to keep the journal closed. A journal like this is great to use when you want to plan a large project.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright September, 2017. journals are great for planning smaller projects. This one is the same size as the one above with fewer pages, with a nice cover design. It fits into my purse so I can easily bring it back and forth between my job at the inn and home; and wherever else I end up.

My writing document is done in Google Docs, and my notes, outlines, and other information are in the journal. I can easily work on this project anywhere, because I always have the information I need with me.

My laptop is another important tool. It holds copies of all my manuscripts, plans, outlines, and so much more, as well as gives me access to all my backed-up information and whatnot. Right now I have a Dell, but I used to use Hewlett-Packard. Both have work well for my purposes thus far.

As for backups, I use a few different things depending on the nature of each project. I don’t have the funds necessary to spend on backing everything up in the cloud, so I improvise.

  • A few of my blogs have backup that came with the hosting, though it is limited. This is helpful.
  • I have all my documents in my OpenOffice program, as well as in Google Docs unless they are backed up via blog.
  • Pictures are mostly in Dropbox, except for the older ones still in Google.
  • I have hard copies of most of my manuscripts.
  • I use email for a few things, mainly information I want to keep for a while. I’ve set up folders for specific things, and I just delete things when I’m done with them.
  • I have some things on flash drive.

The hard copies I keep are placed in folders and a file box. I found these on Amazon, and liked the design. I’m trying to do things a little more colorfully in my office space, and knew these would work. They are Carolina Pad Hot Chocolate file folders.

They give my files a more attractive look than the hanging file folders I was using, and I like that. Who doesn’t want a nice looking office space?

By the way, I use plants as a sort of tool as well. Not only do they make a space look better, they also provide a source of calm when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I look at the plants, take a few slow, deep breaths, and feel a lot better about whatever is going on.

We all need a calming force in our lives sometimes, and that’s what plants do for me.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright September, 2017. also have favorite pens, and I use highlighters for various things. I love fine-point pens, and usually use black or purple ink. However, I do use red ink when editing.

Highlighter’s of various colors are used when working on projects. I usually choose a color for each part of the project, like color-coding. It helps to keep each mess of notes a little more organized.

Post-its are another thing I use, but not near as often as I used to. I’m making a conscious effort not to be as wasteful these days, but the post-its still come in handy for certain things.


And my cell phone and tablet are great tools. I take pictures with my phone. It’s a Straighttalk phone that takes as good a picture as my digital camera. It’s easy to upload from the phone to my blogs.

The tablet fits in my purse, so is easily taken with me when a laptop is not desired but I know I’ll be needing to look things up for projects.

What are your favorite tools?


P.S. Thank you to the Stuck on You team for providing me with the weekly planner and the To-Do List Pad to try. Love the products and I’ll be recommending them to others.




Review: MyCharge HubPlus Portable Charger

I recently received a MyCharge HubPlus Portable Charger, and I just love it. The charger arrived pre-charged a few days before I left for vacation, so I used it a few times to charge my phone and my tablet. It seems to charge my devises a little more quickly than the chargers that came with each.

During my 4 hour bus ride up north to visit my daughter Skye I rely on my phone to call someone in case of emergency, but I also use it for Facebook and other purposes. This use drains the battery, so it was extremely convenient to have the charger with me. I recharged on the bus, then a couple of times while at my daughters before I had to plug the HubPlus into an outlet and let it charge. That’s quite a few charges before it needed to be charged itself.

I’ve decided I love having the HubPlus on hand not just for my phone, but so I can charge my tablet when I’m trying to get writing tasks done while away from home. It’s very handy.

As you can see from the picture above, there are two places on the side to plug devices into. The HubPlus charges tablets, smartphones, MP3 players, and more. It has Smart-Sense, to automatically ensure device compatibility, and can charge up to three things at a time.


When you need to charge the HubPlus, just plug it into a wall outlet.

This is going to come in handy during my long walks to find a writing place, and for doing business tasks while I’m at those places, in case I find my tablet needs to be charged. I’ll be making sure to keep it charged for trips and those walks for writing work.

The HubPlus costs $79.99, and is well-worth the price.


NOTE: I am not an affiliate for HubPlus. I personally use this product and am pleased with it.

Book Review: How to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life

indexHow to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life – While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes Out With a Sharpie
Linda is one of my favorite authors on the topic of freelance writing and building a freelance business. It really wasn’t a stretch for me to buy this ebook, and I’m glad I did. I’ve read through the book, and am now working through the worksheets, and I can’t wait to get things in my life more organized and on track.

I love this book. It will be helpful no matter your career choice, and deals anything in life you want to accomplish. The ebook is well-written, and easy to follow along with while filling out the worksheets. On the days I feel like “poking my eyes out with a sharpie”, I can look back at this book and my worksheets, and know that everything will be okay and I’ll be able to get back on track in no time.

As a person who always seems to need to be busily working on something, How to Do It All is helping me to stay on track in each area of life. Thank goodness. I need all the help I can get.

This book, by the way, is a keeper. It gives advice on how to fill out each worksheet, as well as coming up with your own ideas when you want to do something else.

Review: 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts – Volume 2 MORE Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More

41BB1KPC7uL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_By Bryan Cohen

Kindle $2.99. Also in paperback.

If you read my review for the first book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts – Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories, and More, then you know I came away from it with some great ideas.

This is another great compilation of writing prompts by Bryan Cohen. Read through this one in a day, taking notes on ideas sparked from the experience. Prompts for various genres, blog posts, and more include time travel, dating, magic, road trips, war, family, history, and so much more! A definite keeper for later inspiration.

Definitely check out Bryan’s books!

Shannon L. Buck

Review: 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts – Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories, and More

51qa84CJzxL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_By Bryan Cohen

Kindle $2.99. Also in paperback.

I spent time, while reading this ebook, adding even more to my writing prompts journal. I’ve decided on a new series of stories, as well as some blog and newsletter ideas, by reading this ebook. The prompts range from fiction of different genres, to many topics including seasonal, holidays, writing, career, and other prompts.

It also contains prompts for children in 1st to 3rd grade, and some specifically for men.

Overall, I got a lot out of this compilation.

Do you know of any good writing prompt sources? Share please!


Shannon L. Buck


Review: 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts Ryan Andrew Kinder

Kindle $2.99. Also available in paperback at varying prices.

Started reading through these prompts and could not stop. Now that I’ve finished, I have almost 40 pages of prompts added to my writing prompt journal. It will be a long time before I run out of ideas! This ebook focuses on different genres, giving many ideas for the writer to work on. Try a few, and see what you think. There is an entire section just for flash fiction.

Besides prompts for fiction, I came away with some blog ideas as well. Always nice. I’m always looking for ideas to use for articles, blogs, and newsletters.

For beginners and up, this ebook gives plenty of ideas.

Shannon L. Buck

Review: Rock Your To-Do List: Get to Your Biggest Goals Faster, With Less Stress, in Only 15 Minutes a Day

51YD7SuSfOL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_By Lain Ehmann, MPA

Kindle Price: .99 for a limited time. Read on KindleUnlimited for FREE. (80 pages)

I received a review copy of this book from Lain, a life and business coach, and was so excited to be reading about a different way to rock my to-do list!

I’m a HUGE fan of to-do lists, but mine have always been so long its been a struggle for me to get through them each day. That has all changed. In Rock Your To-Do List, Lain has shown me how to get my to-do list under control. How to get my dreams out of my head, and how to get the correct tasks onto my to-do list, in a ways that is not overwhelming at all. Lain’s method works for big and small ideas.

The author tells us her story, about how other organizational methods were not working for her, and how she came about creating her own method. A method that might just be exactly what you have been looking for. She explains why “no two schedules are the same because no two lives are the same,” and she is right. Each of us lives a different life, so we each need a different schedule as well. Our own way of doing things. What works for me may not work for you, but this book will help you to figure out what will work for you, and how to make your goals priorities.

I have a lot on my plate. My job, my family, my writing, and blogging. I have SO many things that need doing. Rock Your To-Do List has helped me to put my goals into perspective, and shown me a step-by-step process of getting the important things done. I now know how to make my goals priorities, and am thankful to Lain for showing me her process. Her method is helping me to get my life in order, so I can be more productive.

I definitely recommend this book, whether you’re a stay at home mom or dad in need of getting things in order, or you have a business that you seem to be floundering in due to lack of time to pull important tasks off, or anyone in between.

Let me know how her system works for you in the comments below, or by emailing me at

Shannon L. Buck

Book Review: 2015 Guide to Self-Publishing, Revised Edition, The Most Comprehensive Guide to Self-Publishing

11083622_10153238193377668_191870317629647345_nEach year, with income taxes, I do something that has the potential to help me further my writing. This year I bought a book. Not just any book, but one on self-publishing.

Why? Because I am going to be publishing a series of four short stories, hopefully by the end of this year. And this book will also be helpful when publishing nonfiction books.

The articles were great, providing much-needed tips and information. These were in the Production section of the book, as were articles on freelance designers and editors.

The section on Management has useful articles on record keeping, contracts, and sales tax, as well as ones on pricing, and keeping your manuscript safe. The business part of writing and publishing is as important as the writing itself.

Then it moves on to the subject of Promotion, a vital part of the publishing process, where platform is discussed. Public relations, selling, blogging, social media and other topics are mentioned here.

There are a few Interviews with people who have self-published that share experiences, and a sections with Listings for self-publishing companies, freelance designers, and more. The book also offers listing for other resources.

Overall, the book is a good, informational read, with some action steps and well-put explanations.

I highly recommend the book to anyone on the self-publishing path.


Book Review: Living Write: The Secret to Inviting Your Craft Into Your Daily Life by Kelly L. Stone

 Living Write: The Secret to Inviting Your Craft Into Your Daily Life by Kelly L. Stone is a great book that will guide the reader/writer through tasks created to aid her in creating a wonderful writing life. The Book comes with a CD called Living Write Guided Meditations and Other Daily Exercises for Writers. This CD is very helpful as well.

The book has many activities that will help you along your path. It discusses numerous ways to bring writing into your daily life, with exercises designed to guide you through the process.

Developing your writing self-image enables you to see your strengths, as well as areas where you may need some work. Kelly explains that building up your self-image is an important aspect in accomplishing your goals. She shows you how to create your vision of success and how to work toward your goals as a writer.

Reaching your milestones is one way this is done. Thinking about your milestones daily, and taking action toward them, is how you take responsibility for your writing career. Kelly shows you how to do this in her book. You will learn how to overcome negative thinking, and how to deal with rejection and use it in positive ways.

And that is not all. Kelly also explains how to deepen your writing efforts. She guides you through the process of meeting your daily and long-term goals using different techniques.

And so much more. This book is a great guide.


Shannon L. Buck


Book Review: Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an AuthorCreate Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author by Chuck Sambuchino

Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an AuthorCreate Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author by Chuck Sambuchino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book last summer, noting both the professionalism and the humor of the author. It was an enjoyable read that taught me much. I came away with many ideas about how to better work my platform for future sales of books. Along with the authors advice, you will find examples of platform building by others who have taken steps to further their career.

View all my reviews