Die with memories. Not dreams.

I hear variations of this theme often:

Your many vacations are the stuff of my dreams.

From the outside, the author life looks glamorous, doesn’t it? Jetting between interesting locations. Meeting new people. Eating cool food. Seeing awesome sights.

The reality isn’t packed with glamour. I share the most titillating snippets of every trip. Here’s a sample REAL appearance day:

  • Wake up at 4:30am to allow enough time to battle traffic and get to a 7am presentation
  • Lug heavy book suitcase into venue
  • Set everything up
  • Shake hands with everyone in the room; listen to their stories; BE ON (and anyone who knows me knows how NOT ON I am at 7am)
  • Give dynamic motivational talk
  • Sell books, listen to more stories, and make correct change (which is almost always too much multitasking for me)
  • Pack up and lug less heavy suitcase to car
  • Map to lunchtime location
  • If time and distance permit, pop into some really cool site and snap a photo there; post on social media like that’s all I’m doing, because reality is boring social media fodder
  • Drive myself to my next appearance
  • Repeat lugging suitcase/setup/handshaking/etc above
  • Map to evening location
  • If time and distance permit, find a decent coffee shop; mainline two lattes
  • Drive myself to my next appearance
  • Repeat setup steps
  • Evening presentations are always longer and require more energy; psyche self out to perform; possibly more lattes
  • Repeat all setup and teardown steps above
  • If readers want to go out afterwards, NEVER say no; I’m honored when they want to spend extra time with me; be ON when I’m about to fall over
  • Drive myself to wherever I’m staying; it is probably now 11pm
  • I haven’t looked at my computer all day; return emails, voicemails, and Facebook messages
  • Attempt sleep by 1am
  • Repeat cycle the next morning at 4:30am

Anyone want to join me for a glamorous life on the road?

For the past week, I repeated the above list every single day. I do this to myself because I’m passionate about convincing people to make memories. Every time I meet someone and inspire them to make a memory, it’s another awesome memory for me. I’m determined to influence everyone to live this mantra.

Die with memories. Not dreams.

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This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. ~ Anonymous

Happy Monday, Dear Reader! This post finds me in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. I’ll be giving my motivational talk “Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Memories” tonight at 7pm. Elmhurst Public Library.

Details HERE: http://andrawatkins.com/event/elmhurst-il-public-library/

And if you live in greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I have numerous events in the area this week. Check out my event calendar HERE for all the details.

I’d love to meet you!

I close out my week in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. I’m headlining Round Lake Beach AuthorFest on Saturday, July 30. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi.

And if you know people in greater Chicago/greater Milwaukee, PLEASE share this post with them and encourage them to make a memory with me. Meeting current and potential readers is my life blood. I love hearing your stories, knowing your voices and faces, and sharing time one-on-one with you.

It’s the BEST WAY to band together and keep life from escaping us.

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This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

visit wales

From May 21 – June 18, 2016, Andra will be writer-in-residence at Stiwdio Maelor in Corris, Wales.

(From the SM website) Stiwdio Maelor was established in July 2014 to provide residency opportunities for artists and writers from the UK and other parts of the world. Creators are invited to take time out of their busy lives, visit a stunning area in North Wales, refocus on their work, and find new inspiration. Stiwdio Maelor provides short term residencies with budget accommodation for visual artists and writers.

As an independent, self-funded project, Stiwdio Maelor seeks to operate ecologically and sustainably, on a not-for-profit basis. Funding to maintain the project comes from the hire of studios to local writers and artists, a nominal fee charged to visiting writers and artists, and from the sale of artworks and donations. The fees are kept as low as possible so that all creators can take advantage of this project.

The studio is located in a traditional shop in the picturesque slate quarrying village of Corris which is nestled amidst the awesome scenery of Snowdonia National Park. Since its conversion, the shop and adjoining premises now houses, two studios, for use by local artists, and three studio/bedrooms for visiting artists and writers. Our larger, attic studio, with its double bed, sitting area and wood fire stove, is particularly suitable for those seeking a little more space and atmosphere.

Originally a quarry mining town, Corris is surrounded by forested hills, old slate workings and ruined quarry buildings. The many well-marked walks and bike trails in the surrounding area, make Maelor a place of tranquility and inspiration. The village boasts a pub, and a small cafe/shop, and is inhabited by people from an eclectic mix of backgrounds and lifestyles. It really should be called the friendliest village in Wales.

**Image from visitwales.com**