Moving On

At some point in time we must each move on. From things that are no longer working for us, to things that drive us to become better – or perhaps more – than we are now. Things that hold our interests; things we are passionate about.

I feel that time has come for me. I want to help you to create their success, even if that success has nothing to do with the various ways to freelance. Or, if you want to include other types of successful career moves, as I do.

Visit:

Create Your Success

With my new site, that is exactly what I’m attempting to do. Launched minimally in 2017, I’ll be adding much to the new site in 2018 and beyond, including blog posts, free worksheets and projects, encouragement for people who want to create their own success, whatever that might be.

I’m so excited!

During this transitional period, a number of things will be happening to Live the Freelance Life:

  1. I’ll be going through all the content on this site to see what I may be able to re-purpose on the new site, what I might create freebies from, and what I can put together eBooks with. This could take anywhere from one month to twelve.
  2. I will shut down this site when that is done, and all of my old posts and photographs have been saved elsewhere.
  3. I will close the Facebook page, How to Live the Freelance Life.
  4. I will close the archive site for Freelance Ponderings and Advice, after creating a free eBook from the information there.
  5. I’ll be getting rid of as many links back to here as I can from the various social media platforms.

On top of all of this, I’ll be concentrating on making Create Your Success as successful as I can, and working on my fiction writing. It will be a busy, exciting year! I hope you’ll join me over on the new site.

All of this falls in line with many of things I want to accomplish in my life, including Taking Care of Business, staying within my Happiness Factor, and Trying New Things. All equally important.

Shannon

P.S. If you are looking for more information on creating your freelance career, I still have plenty available. Check out my eBooks today:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/shannon-l-buck/a-freelancers-helper/ebook/product-20745797.html

 

A Freelancer’s Helper

Only $1.99 for a limited time. Get your copy today!

In this special report, A Freelancer’s Helper, I will show you the value of having people to help you with every day tasks while you work. Each person will have different needs, and this report will help you to decide what help would be best for your circumstances.

Be sure to also check out:

 

Organize Your Space and Stuff by Shannon L. Buck Organize Your Space and Stuff provides take-aways such as ideas for organizing projects and record keeping, as well as keeping track of successes. https://www.amazon.com/Organize-Your-Space-Stuff-Freelance-ebook/dp/B01BIEZYHK/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Green Your Freelance Business by Shannon L. Buck Discover many ways to green your business activities as well as your office. http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/shannon-l-buck/green-your-freelance-business/ebook/product-22600904.html

Careers for Freelancers by Shannon L. Buck - Interested in building a career from the comfort of your own home? Or expanding on the career you've already created? http://www.lulu.com/shop/shannon-l-buck/careers-for-freelancers/ebook/product-22871912.html

Let Your Teen Help By Shannon L. Buck




Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

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. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckPretty 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. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckAnd 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. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckThese 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. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckI 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. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckThin 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. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckI 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?

Shannon

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.

 

 

 




Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Freelance Ponderings & Advice: Writing Outside

Just wanted to let you know about the latest issue of Freelance Ponderings and Advice. This issue is about writing outside. One of my favorite things to do!

Enjoy!

Shannon




Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Spring Desk Decor

Writing and other freelance jobs are not just about the work. You have to be comfortable in the space where you do the work. I accomplish this, in part, by ‘decorating’ my desk. This is what I came up with for spring:

20170518_110352

The photo is rather dark, but it was the best one I could get. You can see the plant on the left, and the flowers and candle holders on the right. And let’s not forget the book I’m reading, and my planners.

The left:

I have an established spider plant at the corner, with three smaller plants that I’m rooting in water. To the bottom edge of the desk is one of the books I am currently reading: Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. I feel it’s important to keep my current read close by.

I could have gone with something different on this side, such as:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

 

The spider plant, with a picture of myself and my grandson (Little Man) to the front.  <3

Here I’ve placed a candle holder to each side, as well as a small spring-scented candle.

I simply switched things up a bit for a different look. It’s easy to do, and I will switch things up each week during the spring months, as I dust the desk.

 

The center:

My actual work-space, of course. It holds my laptop, and I’m placing that picture of myself and my grandson right at the center.

I’ve photographed three different center desk scenes for you.

  1. My daughter, Skye, buys me quote blocks once in a while, and I’m using them in two of the scenes. The quote can be anything that suits you.
  2. A tea-light candle holder placed to either side, but just behind, the photo frame adds an interesting touch.
  3. And a small lavender-scented candle at the front will provide a relaxing feel when I’m finishing up work for the day.

The right:

The right side is different from the left, and can also be done in different scenes. In keeping with the spring theme, I’ve done a few things:

  • The tea-light candle holders have marbles at the bottoms. Not just any marbles, but ones that belonged to my Grampy. My Aunt Robin gave me a jar of them after he passed.
  • The vase holds blue pebbles that were used as decorative features at my daughters baby shower, and the tulips were a Mother’s Day gift from a coworker who was kind enough to buy a rather large arrangement for all the ladies at work. This made us all feel special that weekend!
  • The candle holders, vase, and picture frame I’ve had for a while.
  • And the lavender candle adds a nice touch.

It cost $0.50 to decorate my desk for spring. The cost of the candle. Not bad for already having most things on hand.

How do you decorate your desk?

Shannon L. Buck




Brainstorming Sessions with the Bestest

One thing I’ve been trying to do with this site is stress that life is not all about your freelance path. It is also about relationships, and keeping them healthy. It is about the happiness factor.

Today I want to discuss how you can keep in touch regularly with your bestest, in such a way that your business and hers will benefit from your time spent together.

Whether you each have business or not, brainstorming with someone else is a good way to get new ideas. If your bestest works for an employer, perhaps she would like a chance to brainstorm ways to further her existing career, start her own business, fix up her home, or plan a sustainable garden. Or maybe she is planning to write a book. The possibilities are endless, really.

Why brainstorming sessions with the bestest work

  1. You can be honest with other. If something sounds good, great. If something sounds lame, you can let the other know.
  2. You are comfortable talking with each other.
  3. Your bestest may have some great ideas for your business.
  4. You might have great ideas for whatever your bestest is working on.
  5. You can celebrate successes together!

Setting up regular brainstorming sessions

Make this a regular thing, scheduling a meeting as often as you need it. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly. Whatever works for both of you. Talk with your bestest and write these dates on your calendar.

Be sure to schedule enough time to brainstorm for both of you. Maybe lunch, with no afternoon responsibilities, so you can talk for hours if the need be.

Decide in advance of each meeting where you’ll meet up. Perhaps you’ll have a picnic in the park, or meet for tea outside your favorite cafe. Maybe a lunch at your favorite restaurant will be better, or a dinner at your place or hers. If you want to stay active, you could even go for a long walk, each of you bringing a hand-held recorder for keeping track of ideas.

No need for a rain-check if weather is not cooperating, just change where you meet up.

How brainstorming sessions with the bestest work

First, you get the day-to-day chit-chat out-of-the-way. Talk about the weather, how the kids or significant others are doing, what’s coming up for important dates within your families, and what community things are going on. Discuss feelings about situations, and how stressful last Thursday was. Get it all out of the way, so you can get to work.

Next you’ll each want to each talk about previous ideas you’ve implemented since the last meeting, and give updates on other things you’ve discussed as far as business goes. What has worked? What hasn’t? What haven’t you gotten to and why? Are you still planning on trying those leftover ideas out? Or will you be scrapping?

Then move on to new ideas. Talk about what you each have come up with for ideas for your businesses or projects, giving the other a chance to offer up more ideas. Talk about each new idea, at least briefly, to be sure it sounds plausible for your situation.

During this time, talk about things such as marketing, new project ideas or manuscript topics, promotional ideas, and whatever else you can think of. Perhaps you know you’re going to need a new laptop, and want to brainstorm the features you’ll need, or maybe you want to talk about your plan to turn and extra room into an office.

Going the extra mile for brainstorming sessions

Why not buy gifts for you and the bestest for that first meeting. You can put hers in a gift bag if you’d like. A hardcover journal or notebook for each of you to write ideas in, a nice pen, a set of highlighters, colorful post-its, and a selection of your favorite teas and fancy chocolate bars.

When your bestest finishes a particularly big project, put together a gift basket for her. Themes could be:

  • Fancy office supplies, or things to match her office decor.
  • Her favorite coffees and a mug with a saying that fits her perfectly.
  • Items to add to a collection she has going on.
  • Kitchen items and gourmet foods for the foodie friend.
  • A DVD of a movie she wants, popcorn, drinks, and a box or two of her favorite movie theater candy.
  • Things from her favorite cafe: The coffee or tea she likes – for her to make at home, a reusable cup with their logo, and a gift card.

If your bestest is feeling blocked or stuck, give her a basket of items for pampering herself, such as a facial treatment, her favorite shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, a wash cloth and hand towel, and a few new colors of nail polish. Maybe she needs to relax and take care of herself, to feel rejuvinated.

Have you had a brainstorming session with your bestest? How did it go? Can you schedule another?

Shannon L. Buck




Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright April 4, 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

10 Examples of What to do Next

So, you finally finished that big project, set up your first website, or wrote that book you’d been putting off, or finished that huge project for a client – that took you months. Good for you! Be proud. Be confident. Take a moment to just bask in what you have accomplished. It. Was. Huge. You know it was.

But now that you’re done, what should you do next?

I’d like to offer up 10 ideas for what to do when you’re done with a big project. Some of them you might not have even thought about. They aren’t all about work, as there really is more to life.

  1. Celebrate. It can be something simple, such as that Chai Tea from your favorite cafe, or maybe a movie you’ve been wanting to see. Perhaps tea with your daughters, or lunch with the bestest. Do something.
  2. Buy yourself something at least somewhat related to your business, such as a nice hardcover journal with a decorative pen for note-taking, or some new jewelry to wear during your next meeting. The bracelets and hair accessories in the picture cost me next to nothing, but they are nice to have when I want to add a little flair.
  3. Take a day off. Start with a slow morning of waking up when your body is ready, meditating, doing a little yoga, journaling, and having a light breakfast. Then take a walk near the river, and stop into the cafe for an iced tea on your way home. Watch a movie, read a book, or take some time to pamper yourself. Enjoy the day!
  4. Decide on your next project.
  5. Put your files from the previous project away, and set up new ones and other necessities for the next project.
  6. If you wrote a book, set the manuscript aside for a while to step back from it. Plan to do a first edit in two weeks, or a month.
  7. Take an afternoon to sit on the back porch with a pen and paper, and brainstorm ideas for things you want to do for your business.
  8. Update your portfolio and/or resume.
  9. Clear off your desk, give it a good washing, and then set things on it in a different way than before. Put a plant on the desk, or something decorative in nature.
  10. Send out queries for future projects.

What’s your top 10 list?

Shannon L. Buck




Photograph copyright Shannon L. Buck, December 31, 2016.

How Many Times Have You Put off Writing That Book?

I know you have one. An idea for a book that would be a great compliment to your blog. One to offer as your first freebie to get people to sign up for your mailing list. One to sell on your website. Or one that you would like to have traditionally published and sold in stores.

Perhaps you’ve taken some notes, constructed an outline, or even written an introduction. Maybe you’ve written a first chapter, and it has been waiting for your return for two years.

Whatever the book is you have inside, it’s waiting to come out.

It’s going to be a good book. One that will help beginning photographers start their own business, or one that will show freelance writers how to write the best queries ever. But you need to get on the ball and get it written.

I know. I have a few fiction books, as well as a nonfiction one, I have been waiting to start. A few fiction ones I’ve started and that are waiting to be finished, and a nonfiction set of eGuides I’m working on. I also have manuscripts that are waiting for edits. I keep telling myself I need to do more to get these things done, but it is a struggle.

What’s keeping me from starting, and finishing my book?

Oh, time, for sure. But also drive. I think I’ve mentioned that I feel like I have adult ADD. I don’t know this for a fact, but I do have a hard time staying on track. I’m doing better this year though, and hoping to get a few projects completed.

I’m almost done with a series of novelettes. I’ve only published short fiction so far, so I am darn proud of myself for having the motivation and frame of mind to keep up with this project. I’m also editing some short stories this year, and working on that first eGuide.

(Note: I published quite a few last year! So I was able to stay on track for the most part. I’m pretty proud of that! Take a look at all I did here.)

What book is inside you? What book is waiting to come out?

Shannon L. Buck




Want to Meet Your Goals This Year?

Keep a constant reminder where it can be seen. There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. Print out a 5×7 copy of your goals lists. Frame it, and place on your desk.
  2. Attach poster board to the office door. Write out your goals list, providing a box or line for check marks. As you meet each goal, check it off!
  3. Tape the list to the wall above your desk.
  4. Keep the list taped to the top of your desk, right next to the laptop.
  5. Use your goals as the wallpaper or screensaver on the computer.

Can you think of any more? If so, please mention them in the comments or email me at shannonlbuck@livethefreelancelife.com.

Happy New Year!

Shannon

 




Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright May 14, 2014.

Healthy Freelancer’s Recipe: Simple Smoothie

I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling the greatest after the holidays. I need to get back to my healthy eating strategy, so I’ve been working on that this week.

Each day I’ve been making a smoothie to boost my nutrition intake. This is the simple starter recipe I’m using:

Ingredients

  • almond milk
  • 1 small banana
  • a handful of spinach
  • 1 egg
  1. Put ingredients in a blender.
  2. Cover and blend everything well, adding ice if desired.

To this, I might add some other goodies, such as a few slices of cucumber or carrot, frozen berries, or a peach and Romaine lettuce.

It’s all about keeping it clean and healthy.

Looking for other smoothie recipes?

  • Banana-Blueberry Smoothie (If you eat dairy.)
  • Pineapple-Spinach Smoothie
  • This and That Smoothie (Use what you have on hand.)

Smoothies are quick and easy to make. When the blender has been emptied, put a squirt of dish detergent in it with some water, cover and give it a whirl, and then wash the container and the cover. Easy-peasy.

Join me in getting back on track nutrition-wise.

Shannon L. Buck




Fun Personal Projects for Writers: Easy Desk Decorations for Winter

I took my trees and Yule decorations down a few days after Christmas. I wanted my desk back, and that is where my trees were set up in front of the window. Each winter, after taking down holiday decorations, I decorate for the winter months.

Usually, the projects I post here are at least somewhat related to writing. But not today. These easy desk decorations for winter will spruce up your desk and leave it feeling a little more cozy.

And why not? We can be creative in more than one way. Why not let our creativity shine through by crafting and doing things other than writing.

As you can see, I did three projects for my desk. They were super-simple to achieve, and the overall effect is nice.

The Tea Light Candle Holders

I have three tea light candle holders of varying height. I always decorate these according to the season, and sometimes they end up on a corner of my desk. They are clear and each has an insert for a tea light.

I used light blue beaded garland from Yule, and let a strand nestle slowly at the bottom of each receptacle. Then I placed a pine cone in each. For the shortest one, I had to squish the pine cone down into the beads in order to fit the top in place. Once the tea light holders were in the receptacles, I simply placed a tea light in each.

Voila! A candle set-up for the corner of my desk.

The Filled Vase

Another super-easy project, this time using a clear vase. I let a strand of silver beads fall gently into the bottom of a vase, then added silver ribbon I had previously used for a wrapping project. Next I let another string of silver beads settle over the ribbon.

Such a quick project for the desk.

The Filled Snowflake Bucket

I have this bucket, brown with a snowflake design, that came to me as part of a gift a couple of years back. It isn’t very tall. The picture next to it is a 5×7. But I wanted to use it at one corner of my desk, opposite the tea light holders. I thought it would go well with the framed picture.

All I did was let a short strand of silver garland fall into the bucket. It came to the top. Then I placed a pine cone on top, at the center, and a little wooden snowman at the back. Before setting the bucket on my desk, I also added some beaded icicle ornaments (purple and clear) around the inside edges, being sure to push them down as far as they would go. This way you only see the tops of the ornaments.

Another easy-peasy desk project, to be sure.

Zero Cost Projects in No Time

These projects cost me nothing, because I used materials I already have on hand from the holidays. And it took less than 5 minutes to create them all.

I think the grouping of the vase, the bucket and picture looks lovely, and I like the grouping of tea light holders at the opposite end of the desk.

How are you decorating your desk for winter? Please share in the comments, or by emailing me at shannonlbuck@livethefreelancelife.com. And please send pictures!

Shannon L. Buck