Shannon L. Buck livethefreelancelife.com

We All Make Mistakes

The mistakes are different for each of us. Perhaps you forgot to update a client on your progress, or to do a last edit on a piece before sending it to the editor. Maybe you didn’t quite make that self-imposed deadline for a blog post, even after letting everyone on your list know that you’d have it out on Friday.

It happens. To all of us.

But what do you do now that you realize the mistake?

  1. Acknowledge to yourself that the mistake was made, and remind yourself that it can happen to anyone. Take it easy on yourself; don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s okay, and fixable (in most cases).
  2. Fix the mistake. Do the edits. Write the blog post and prepare it for publication. Do what you have to do in order to rectify the situation, in a professional manner.
  3. Send an email or otherwise apologize, depending on the mistake. Attach the finished product, be it an edited versions of the article you just sent or something else. Explain what happened, tell them you are sorry in a heartfelt way, and wait to hear from them.

Most people understand the occasional mistake, and wont worry too much, though there are situations where mistakes are not going to be acceptable.

Don’t hide from people or try to get around the fact that you made the mistake.

Shannon

 




Photograph by Shannon L. Buck 2016.

4 Keys to Success in the New Year

In a previous post, I wrote about wrapping up this year so we can move on and continue building on our successes next year. I discussed how I do this, in hopes it would be helpful to you.

There are other things I found I needed to do this past year in order to successfully get things done.

  1. I needed to stay motivated, and this motivation had to come from within myself. I had to keep that momentum going if I was ever going to accomplish things. But it was not always easy.
  2. The ability to get back on track when I lost the motivation was another key for me. It just so happened that the motivation drifted away every so often, and I had to bring it back. To get back on track and move on from where I had left off. I decided it was okay to take a break from my own projects for a few days, or even a week, as long as I got right back into it.
  3. The ability to adapt was also an important factor. Things aren’t what they used to be. Traditional publishing was not going to work for me, so I had to take the time to learn new skills over the last couple of years. I am not a perfect editor or graphic designer, but I think I can hold my own until I have the money to pay someone who is better equipped for those types of jobs. I had to adapt my thinking from ‘I just want to write’ to ‘I’ll do what it takes to get these eBooks published’.
  4. The ability to move on from failure. Yep! You read that right. Not every eBook you write, class you offer, workshop you create, etc., is going to be a success. I had to decide it didn’t matter. Some of my projects will be successful and some wont. That is fine. I’m learning along the way and that is what’s important. I had to stop being scared to put myself out there, stop being afraid of failing, in order to begin publishing. And I did. I have a storefront on Amazon.com, and one on Lulu.com,  some of my eBooks are even being sold in other places, and I’m on Goodreads.com, and Authorsden.com. I’ve come a long way.

Those are my four (biggest) keys to success. The things that kept me going and publishing numerous eBooks in 2016. And they are what I’m taking with me into the new year. I’ll be publishing plenty more this year, and I’m so excited about it!

Are you excited for the New Year? Are your keys to success different from mine? Share in the comments, or email me at shannonlbuck@livethefreelancelife.com.

Happy Holidays!

Shannon L. Buck




Are You a NaNoWriMo Rebel?

Winner-2014-Square-ButtonI’ve been doing some reading on the NaNoWriMo site, even though I’m not planning to join the fun this year.

Why? Because I’m curious.

About what? Their official stance on writing nonfiction rather than fiction for the challenge.

You see, I’ve been toying with the idea of using the challenge to write a work of nonfiction, but in previous years I’ve seen where a few fiction writer’s have come down hard on nonfiction writers for even suggesting such a thing. Yikes!

But, I’ve been wondering why it’s such a big deal to some people and not others. Then I came across a thread in the forum called Am I a Rebel? Find Out Here. Of course, I started reading. Here’s what I learned:

Heather Dudley starts the thread with a post explaining what a rebel is. She’s quite thorough, and it is worth a read if you write nonfiction and want a challenge to kick your butt into gear.

In her post, she explains that the type of manuscript I want to write is covered under the rebel title so, in a year or two, I might do this. Especially if I need a kick in the pants to start a book. According to Heather, I can even validate the book if I want.

There you have it. There is such a thing as  NaNoWriMo rebel, and you might be one if you choose to join the challenge. To find out more, read Heather’s post on the topic in the forum.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Happy writing!

Shannon




I’ve Made Mistakes

We all have, right? We think we know exactly what is needed in order to get things done, then realize what we thought we knew isn’t going to work. Something didn’t happen, or we misunderstood things. Whatever the cause, something did not work out as planned.

This is fine. I use mistakes as opportunities for learning, trying to figure out the point where things went wrong, and taking notes on how to make what I want to do work the next time around.

There is an initial period of stress, but I make every attempt not to let this get me down. I work through the stressful moments until I get things figured out. Sometimes I have to start back at the beginning. Other times I can see that it was a later step that got messed up, and work from there.

And still other times, I find that the mistake is not my fault at all. That the messed up outcome is actually the cause of a problem with a program. For instance, recently I was trying to ready a manuscript in OpenOffice for publishing. Try as I might, I could not get the program to save images. Mind you, I’ve been using this program for years and love it. I’d never had this problem but, all of a sudden, I just could not save images.

I looked through the help section of the program, but nothing it said to do to fix the problem worked. I looked on their site. Still nothing worked. Finally, stressed out, I messaged my brother-in-law. I explained the issue, and told him it just started occurring with no previous problems and asked him, if I uninstalled the program and reinstalled, would the process delete all the manuscripts and other writings I’ve created with the program over the years.

Then I put it out of my mind and concentrated on another task until he could read the message and respond.

Later that night he responded, explaining that the files and edits are separate from the program itself. He told me I was safe to perform the uninstall/install tasks. The next day I did so, and things have been moving along nicely.

I’d never had a real problem with the program, and he later explained that sometimes things like that just happen – for whatever reason. I’m thankful I have him to talk about technological issues with, and have learned a lot from him.

Recently, I was trying to upload a new story to Amazon’s Kindle program, and something wonky happened. I started a new book and saved everything, then the screen went to a previous story I’d published. I went out of that and back to the start page, and the new manuscript was not there, so I did it all over thinking it must have just been a glitch.

I then received a message from a friend who reads my ebooks. She told me she had purchased Bang! and received it just fine, but she had also purchased Rascal only to find that the inside was also Bang!.

At first I had no idea what could be wrong, then I remembered the wonky incident when trying to upload the new story. I messed up. Rascal was the story I had been taken to when the ‘glitch’ happened. I should have immediately checked the preview of that story, to be sure it had not been changed, before re-uploading the other. I did not, and now I had to.

I don’t even know how it happened, because you create a new ebook above where your other ebooks are listed. You start with a clean slate, which is how I started out. I guess there really was some glitch. One I may never understand.

But I fixed the problem. It took almost a day for it to get fixed on their end, but it was done. I found I stressed some, but not too much. Probably because I was sure I was going to be able to get it fixed on my own, and I told myself most people have automatic updates on the books ebooks they buy through Amazon.com anyway. They would get the updates.

Both of these things happened this year, and weren’t my only mistakes. For instance:

  • Twice I’ve uploaded a manuscript for publishing, that showed a few typos at the preview stage. I simply went in and fixed the typos, then re-uploaded. It takes a little more time. I’m sure this will happen again, as I am not perfect, and have decided to be okay with this.
  • When publishing Organize Your Space and Stuff, I uploaded the cover and manuscript, filled in the information, hit publish, and thought I was good to go. Then, when they sent the email telling me the ebook was up for sale on their site, I clicked over to look at it and noticed my mistake. I’d uploaded the incorrect  book cover, the one that said ‘Organizing’ rather than the one that said ‘Organize’. I went back in and updated the cover, but it took another day for that problem to be fixed on their end. Also, I noticed after redoing this that the new cover still was not the one being shown, so I had to repeat this a couple more times. All told, it took a couple of days to fix this problem. Ugh.
  • Then I noticed, for the same book, the word ‘Organizing’ needed to be changed to ‘Organize’ in the description. This meant I had to go back into the book information, change it, and then re-save – again. Theses updates took another day to go into effect.
  • I write and edit articles quickly, and sometimes notice typos after publication. When I do, I try to correct them right off so I don’t forget.
  • While putting together Organize Your Space and Stuff from old articles on the blog, I became aware of how far my writing has come. I’m a better writer than I was a few years back. It took months of editing articles and adding important information to them to get that book out. Not as easy-peasy as I’d hoped. But I’m glad I did, and am planning to do it again with another topic. I’ve learned to edit a little more carefully due to finding those mistakes.

This is not a complete list, either. I’m just full of mistakes. But I have decided not to let them get me down, and to keep moving forward no matter what. I’ll fix them when I notice, or when kind and understanding friends and readers point them out to me.

It is true, the more you write, edit, and publish, the more you’ll learn. Practice does not always make perfect, but perfection is not always necessary.

Go ahead. Make mistakes. Correct them when you notice, and don’t stress too much over any mistakes you do make. Everything if fixable.

Any mistakes you want to share, if only to make me and others feel better? Leave a comment, or email me personally at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I enjoy hearing from you, and always respond.

Shannon L. Buck




Are You Worried About Messing Up?

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2016.So was I.

Trying to learn all I could about each step in the publishing process was how I dealt with this worry. But, you know what? I still have stuff to learn. After publishing 8 ebooks this year, I’m still learning.

Why am I telling you this? So you’ll know that it is okay to learn along the way, rather than wasting as much time as I did trying to learn everything. Technology changes so frequently that, once the basics are learned, it is okay to jump right in. To not learn every single thing before you begin. Feel free to wing it.

So do it. Finish writing that book, setting up that blog, creating that ecourse, or whatever it is you’re afraid of messing up. And remember, it is okay to make mistakes.

Making mistakes is its’ own education. You get to figure out something real, not some perceived thing you may not need in the first place. If you’re publishing an ebook for the first time, go ahead and read that guide on how to do so, but then jump in and get your feet wet. If you want to start a blog, join a 30 day challenge for beginner bloggers and do the work. Don’t wait. Get started.

Go ahead and make mistakes. We all do. But make note of how you fix each so you’ll have the information if it happens again, and keep going.

And don’t forget to reward yourself when you meet an important goal, no matter how big or small the goal may be. This will help you to stay motivated.

What are you worried about messing up? Share with us in the comments so we can offer support and encouragement, or email me personally at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I always respond, and love hearing from you.

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 shannonlbuck@gmail.com.

Shannon L. Buck




What does the New Year Symbolize?

Photography by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015I scheduled this article for earlier in the month, but I wanted to think about the subject a bit more before writing. To think about what this year really means for me, and what it might mean for others.

You learn things over time. Like, what is truly important to you. Like, you need a break sometimes. Like, your own projects are as important as the work you do for others.

After time spent thinking about how things went last year, and then rethinking my long-term goals, I finally decided on some goals for this year, my word of the year (courage), and some ways I might reward myself when I meet certain goals.

And then I realized what this year means for me. What it symbolizes?

It symbolizes a time to finish up old projects.

This is the year to start publishing the fiction I’ve been writing in earnest. I don’t hold out any real hope of publishing every single story this year, but I can start knocking some of them off my list. I’ve already begun publishing the #CampSeries, putting out Rascal, A Trip to the Outhouse, and Auntie’s Boyfriend on Amazon.com. Besides publishing, I set myself up on Goodreads.com, updated my Authorsden.com profile, and did a number of things to promote these stories. It has been a busy January for sure! But in such a good way.

Thankfully, the editing was done (for the most part) last year for these stories. This meant I was able to get everything out quickly.

The fourth and final story in the series mentioned above, Hidden Camp, will be published in just a couple of days. Then I’ll work in more promotional time.

I have things I’ve written in the past that I’m planning to re-edit and updates this year. Somewhat of a large undertaking, for sure, but the effort put forth will be worth it in the end.

Then there is the eBook I’ve been working on for this blog. A Long time coming, it is completely edited and ready for publishing and will be available a few days after Hidden Camp. I’m so excited to share Organizing Your Space and Stuff with you. A culmination of articles I’ll be taking off the blog, but still wanted you to enjoy. With lots of added content:

  • Edits for easier flow.
  • An update on each article.
  • Action steps for each article.
  • A bonus section with three projects for you to enjoy.

It symbolizes a time to start some new projects. Try new things.

And this year I’m ready. I have some epic articles planned, with worksheets for you to use when making plans for different things. I’ll start posting them soon.

And, I’m starting a series of eGuides for you. I don’t expect to finish all the eGuides this year, but I want to start getting them out to you. Most likely during the second half of the year. There will be more epic articles for the blog, that will give you a taste for what is in each eGuide. I’ll keep you updated on these as the year progresses.

I also have some new ideas for stories I’ll be writing this year. Will they be published? I’m not sure, but I have the ones I’m editing that will be.

For my personal projects, I think that is a huge amount of stuff. And I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. I have some rewards planned for myself, after achieving certain goals.

It is a time for caring for me.

Along with those rewards I’ll be giving myself for all the hard work, I’ll also be doing other things for me. A have already scheduled a few personal retreats for myself throughout the year. There will also be a fair amount of pampering going on. At least three mornings a week I have a routine that aids me in my self-care efforts.

My Routine for those Three Days

  • Wake up naturally. No alarm clocks! Stay in bed a few minutes, thinking about the day ahead. No stressful thoughts! Only positive ones.
  • Make my bed, get my water ready for my workout, grab the yoga mat, and put on my workout clothes.
  • Stretch. Yoga. Other exercises.
  • Relax. Journal. Have tea.
  • Read, and have another cup of tea.

Then I begin my day.

Another thing I’ve been allowing myself to do once or twice a week is to work at the cafe up the road. I pack up what I want to work on for a couple of hours, and head out, sitting at a table or at the booth near the window. I have a couple of mint tea’s (nothing added) and maybe an oatmeal while I’m there. I find that I can concentrate better with the talk from the other patrons and the sounds of the machines. Even when at home, I concentrate better when writing with the television on for background noise.

I also walk at least two times a week, and I try to eat a mostly Paleo diet. So my body, my health, is taking priority this year.

What does this year symbolize for you? Are you making big changes? Small ones? Professional? Personal? We need to take care of our personal needs and wishes if we want to be truly successful. Please comment below or email me personally at shannonlbuck@gmail.com with what you are doing and why. I always read and answer, and enjoy hearing from those who do.

Shannon L. Buck




Last Year was a Year of…

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015.For me, last year was one of simplification. I simplified processes, winnowed out unnecessary belongings and steps, and tried to live more in the moment.

It was also a year of revelations and reevaluation, learning more about myself and what I want in my life. What is important, and what isn’t.

I made decisions to do things, things that I am now completing – like the publication of a series of four short stories, and the eBook I am almost ready to publish for this blog. Exciting things, for sure.

What was last year for you? A year of…

  • Productivity, where you got tons of important stuff accomplished?
  • Perseverance, where you chose one or two goals and focused on them until they were met?
  • Courage, with no negative self-talk and putting yourself out there without worry?

Whatever it was, congratulations! You made big strides.

Share with us what last year was for you, in the comments below, or email me personally at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I always answer!

Shannon L. Buck