Year in Review: Time Well Spent

I’ve followed Lisa Jacobs for years, and I’m a member of her exclusive Luminaries Club. On her blog each December, she does a 7-day review. It’s sort of a sneak peek into things that she includes in her annual planner, Your Best Year 2018. That workbook and her methods have made such an impact on my business (and life) that I thought I’d share some of my annual review with you. I encourage you to check out Lisa’s blog on Marketing Creativity and follow along with her prompts.

What was time very well spent in 2017?

That answer is simple. Travel. On the personal side, the hubs and I spent a long weekend in Chicago at the Star Trek convention. It was so much fun – great friends, great food, great memories.

On the business side, I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone and went to the InD’Scribe conference in Burbank, California. Frankly, I wouldn’t have gone, but my book Diamond in the Rough was a RONE finalist, so I stuffed my worry into a box and bought a plane ticket. That conference was literally life-changing for me. I’m an introvert. Definitely not a joiner. In public, I want to disappear into the background. Or simply disappear. But when I arrived at the hotel, I stood in my room looking at the room service menu, then glanced out the window and saw several people sitting around at the outdoor bar and grill. I thought about all the money I’d spent getting there, took a deep breath and left the hotel room. When I walked into the bar, I spotted Suzan Tisdale, a USA Today bestselling author that I respect. I didn’t know her. She definitely didn’t know me. But, I gathered my courage and introduced myself. She instantly welcomed me and introduced me to her friends, then asked me to join them. That set the tone for the weekend. I joined in. I talked to people. I danced. I learned. I networked. And I met one of my literary heroes, Rebecca Forster (the author of the Witness series). Even though I didn’t win a RONE, it was an AMAZING experience.

The very next weekend, I went to Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis, Indiana, with one of my critique partners. I moderated a panel and served on another. I was so nervous I made myself physically sick that first morning, but once again, I gathered my courage and put myself out there. The highlight of the weekend happened on the last day, though. The local chapter of Sisters in Crime hosted a flash fiction writing contest. Even though the level of professionalism and talent at that convention was sky high, I decided to try my hand at writing a short story. I’m so glad I did, because it was my name they called during that final luncheon. I went up on stage to accept the award and read my little story out loud. It was truly amazing.

Those two weekends, back to back, were life-changing. Literally. I felt like I had reached the next level.

There were other instances of time well-spent, like the week of vacation I took off of the day job to finish Fatal Obsession, and any time at all I spent with my family.

So, tell me . . . what was time well spent for you in 2017?

2016: My year in review – and How to Review Your Year

For the past month, there have been year in review posts everywhere, but you have taken time to review YOUR year?

I’ve spent the last four days doing an in-depth review of 2016, and I encourage you to do the same. Life is about so much more than work or likes and follows and pins and money and stuff. Evaluate what you’ve done, and identify what you want to achieve. Without goals, you’ll plod along through life, stuck in a rut . . . and you’ll never even notice.

Think of your life like a house, built on a foundation. The foundation is made up of several things that work together, like joists and concrete and steel. In order for your house to be solid, the foundation needs to be strong throughout. Imagine if you had concrete and steel, but no joists spanning the width of your home – it would sag in the middle. All of these things are important, and all need to be reviewed.

Pull out your day planner (or whatever you use to keep track of your calendar) (psst . . . I use the Me and my Big Ideas Happy Planner and I looooove it!) and look at the following:

Family: What are your most memorable moments with family over the past year?

{2016 was a big year for my family. My husband survived a major heart attack in February. My daughter celebrated her 21st birthday in June. My stepdaughter gave birth to a little girl in November – making us grandparents for the first time!}

Financial: How did work go for you over the past year? How is your debt load? Investments?

{2016 was a big year for me money-wise, too. My day job is great – I love the work I do, and I have great co-workers, but there were no raises this year. Luckily, my writing has finally started to pay off, and I was able to pay off 2 credit cards with my writing profits. I also increased my retirement savings by 1% this year.}

Spiritual: We all need spirituality in our lives, whether that is organized religion or simply how you connect with the larger world. Are you nurturing that part of you?

{I explored mindfulness after a particularly difficult 2013, and I have continued to meditate on a regular basis. There is much to learn from the Buddhist philosophy.}

Mental: I think we better ourselves when we continue to learn and stretch our brains. What did you learn in 2016?

{In 2016, I read more than I have in many, many years (using Goodreads to keep track of my challenge – join me!). I read fiction and non-fiction, ebooks, print books and audio books. I also enrolled in a membership group which allowed me to take several online classes.}

Next time, I’ll share how I planned for ’17 and give you tips to make the most out of your year.

2016: Review and Reflection

There’s something about finishing up the year that engenders review and reflection. I love the idea of a fresh start, whether it be a new journal, a new day planner or a new calendar.

The common consensus seems to be that 2016 sucked. I have to say, losing Prince, David Bowie, Glen Frey, George Michael and Carrie Fisher (among others), flat out sucks. But on a personal level, 2016 was pretty good for me. Fatal Impulse sold really well in the beginning of the year, and I released Diamond in the Rough and the Novel Idea Generator. One of the biggest events, though, was my husband’s heart attack. It happened in February, as I was getting ready to walk out the door on the way to a writers retreat with my critique group. My hubs called and said he didn’t feel good, thought he needed to go to the ER. He never wants to go to the doctor for anything, so I knew it was bad. He had a major heart attack while he was at the ER. He was rushed to the cath lab. Afterwards, the doc told me it was a miracle he’d survived. That blockage was 100%, but he had another bad one. Three days later, he had another cath. And now he’s on a handful of meds to try to clear up two more blockages. The point is, we feel like we have a second chance. We enjoy life.

And the other reason 2016 rocks is that we became grandparents. Our oldest (my stepdaughter) gave birth to a little girl in November. That adorable little bundle has wiggled her way into our hearts and brought a new level of happiness to our house. Being a grandma rocks!!

So, while 2016 sucked in so many ways, we each can find happy memories. And I have high hopes for 2017. Great things will happen in 2017. Fatal Obsession will be released in early 2017, and I am putting the finishing touches on my “school” for aspiring writers (think Girl Scouts for writers). Do you want in?

Sign up here – for my mailing list for fiction if you want info about books and/or for WriteScout classes if you want info about how to write, publish and promote your books.

Subscribe to Lori’s mailing list

* indicates required

Subscribe to the Writescouts mailing list

* indicates required