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?