The Lamb Ranch May 2012
My parents were confused hippies. They both served in the Navy during Vietnam, but despite being military, they grew long hair, loved rock and roll and distrusted the establishment. I think the only real holdover from their hippie days was the music. I grew up listening to Hendrix, Janice Joplin, John Lennon and all kinds of classic anti-war 60s tunes. One tune popped in my head today as I was working in the yard. Turn, Turn Turn by the Byrds which was an adaptation of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.
To everything, there is a season.
I love to work in the yard. Maybe its because I come from many, many generations of farmers (Dad’s side). I am only one generation removed from picking cotton. In fact, my grandfather is 87 years old and he still works in triple digit heat doing backbreaking work that would flatten a 20 year old. We Lambs are just hardy stock who love to get our hands dirty.
There is just nothing more meditative than spending a few hours digging in the dirt and letting the mind rest and play.
We have a family ranch that is just shy of 200 acres. I go there to rest. Of course “rest” often consists of sitting on a tractor mowing or cleaning out the seven million black widow nests in the barn or chopping up deadwood to clear the trails. But I enjoy hard work, physical work. It lets my mind have time to make sense of things.
Texas experienced record droughts last year. We experienced wildfire after wildfire. Trees, cattle and people died. This year? We have been blessed with more than enough rain, but with that rain came the 7 foot weeds I got to mow over with a tractor all last weekend. I mowed until Hubby kicked me off the tractor when the sun went down, despite my well-formed argument that we had night-vision, ergo could invent a new sport…Night Mowing!
Yeah, he didn’t go for it. I’m glad too because I slept all day the next day.
The view from the front of my John Deere. Hubby was marking the trails w/ the ATV so I’d know where to mow.
No reason for this pic other than it is totally BAD@$$! Lots of rattlesnakes and wild pigs on the ranch.
Back to our topic…
The land can’t be farmed all the time. There is a season. There is a time to plant, a time to grow, a time to harvest and a time to rest. Skip any one of these seasons and the penalty can be steep and the effects long-lasting. Writers are no different than farmers. We have seasons and we need to respect them. There will be time to write, time to edit, time to promote and time to rest.
Our brains are fertile soil for ideas, for imagination to take root and bloom and produce the good fruits of our genius. But we need to rest. In our Western culture, we are world-renowned for never resting. Yet, we are equally renowned for being morbidly obese and medicated for all kinds of psychiatric disorders. We are renowned for being frazzled, fried and stressed.
Don’t misinterpret what I am saying. I believe that a lot of psychiatric disorders are real, but many of what ails us is due to the go, go, go, go nature of modern society. For hundreds of thousands of years we humans guided our lives by the sun. Artificial light was the glow of a lamp, a fire or a candle.
Yet, now we keep awake using artificial light until the late hours of the night. We artificially wake ourselves using alarm clocks and caffeine. And when we used to sit and rest or nap, we now chug a Monster drink full of herbs we can’t pronounce so we can keep going. We take maybe a week off a year and feel guilty for even that.
It isn’t healthy.
We aren’t balanced. We wear our minds out until we are numb, but the body hasn’t moved all day. We are stressed out and tuckered out and our biggest problem is we have ignored that everything has a season.
I find it beautiful how nature is so reflective of how we should be, too. We could take a lesson. Even nature has a season of rest, of dormancy, of hibernation. The dormancy is vital for growth and for life.
When I go to the ranch it is DARK out there. We are so remote, we only have the noise of coyotes or the rattle of insects in the undergrowth. I work hard and find I go to sleep earlier, sleep deeper, rise with the sun and feel actually rested. I always come home with a new explosion of creativity.
Yet, I still have to remind myself to rest. Just sit. Relax. Don’t…do…anything. Harder than it looks.
I love writers, and I will be the first to kick you in your tails to get you moving (I kick my own tail, too). But today my lesson is different, yet equally important. Take time to rest. To sleep. To just “be.” Go all zen wit’ yuhself!
There is no easy way to success in what we do. Whether we traditionally publish or indie or self-publish, there are NO shortcuts. Publishing success is a lot of work. Those who will succeed are the ones who can do this writing thing day, after day, after day, after day, who can keep blogging and tweeting and writing books and more books and more books even when it looks like nothing is happening. I have been blogging for three and a half years and have almost 800,000 words invested into my career. But I keep showing up, and keep showing up, no matter what.
We have to have endurance to be successful at writing. Whether you listen to Barry Eisler, Joe Konrath, Bob Mayer, Amanda Hocking, H.P. Mallory, James Rollins or Sandra Brown, they will all tell you the same story. Success took work, years of it.
To have this kind of endurance, we need to get good at resting. And I will tell you, as I have a finger pointed at you, three are pointing back at me. I need a lot of these lessons, too so if you don’t need them, I’ll take them. If I hope to be on top of my game, to keep the word count I keep and do all the things I do and take WANA to the next level (more on that next week), I need to be well rested.
I can’t over-farm the soil. I need to let my mind and my imagination rest.
Lately, I have thrown a lot of intense and deep (and, yes, long) blogs out there. I have so much more to do and say, but I need to rest. I am teaching three classes at the DFW Writers’ Workshop Conference this coming weekend. Please sign up if you haven’t already. This is a WONDERFUL conference and they actually are a very forward-thinking group. They gave me my first break to teach social media and I don’t believe I would be where I am today without them. They are an amazing group and have THE best workshops.
Anyway, conferences are a lot of work and also this surprise I am working on for all of you is a lot of work. So I need a break. I am taking a week off from blogging, so you won’t hear from me (blog-wise) until Wednesday of next week.
Might give y’all a chance to catch up on the recent posts, LOL. Been throwing a lot at you guys, I know. But times are changing and it is all happening so quickly. I work my tail off to make sure you guys are prepared, that you are educated so you can enjoy this Digital Renaissance.
I am taking a few of my closest peeps out to the ranch. No cell phones. No blogs. Just talking, laughing and maybe even get a bit of a tan. Tan fat totally looks better than white fat. I will miss you guys, but you need some rest too.
I will also announce the winners of my contest when I get back.
But, I still love hearing from you. Do you feel guilty about resting? Does taking a vacation make you feel guilty? have you found ways to overcome this? Do you feel like you must always be productive and you wear yourself out?
To prove it and show my love, for the month of May, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of May I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
***IMPORTANT MESSAGE–For those who have not gotten back pages. My web site fiasco has been responsible for eating a lot of e-mails. Additionally I get about 400 e-mails a day and the spam folder has a healthy appetite too. It is hard to tell since some people never claim their prize, but I could have very well just not seen your entry. Feel free to e-mail it again and just put CONTEST WINNER in the header so I can spot you easily. (especially if your message is kidnapped by the spam filter).
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.
#1 by patricia l Morris on May 14, 2012 - 5:07 pm
Now I know why I really dig you!
#2 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 14, 2012 - 5:09 pm
Why? Cuz I thought up Night Mowing? I still think it could catch on.
#3 by medestiny on May 17, 2012 - 10:33 am
thank u Kristen, great p0st
#4 by Amelia Loken on May 14, 2012 - 5:09 pm
Thank you, Kristen. This is a good reminder. I caught a bug two weeks ago and had to take several days off of work. And I was so knocked out, I couldn’t even enjoy working on my manuscript. So as I took 3 hour long naps, I pondered my story arc and characterization and let it all “simmer”. In the last week, I’ve been tons more productive as I’ve been able to put to work all the thoughts I was ruminating on during my sick days. It was a blessing in disguise! 🙂
#5 by barbaramattio on May 14, 2012 - 5:28 pm
Perhaps the Universe knew that you need a time out to work on your priority
#6 by mesmered on May 14, 2012 - 5:10 pm
Kristin, I love that you talk about farming. I’m a sheep farmer in Australia growing superfine wool for the fashion trade. I love the farm, the garden, I love my house, my dogs, my family, I love eating homemade chocolate cookies (recipe from a Texan reader-friend who lives on a cattle ranch in Kansas) so my time is elastic and lit by any kind of light I can get. Writing my fifth book is often done in longhand in bed at night because I refuse to have the computer in bed.
Enjoy your ‘me time’ on the ranch, rest and recuperate and you (and we WANA’s) will benefit on your return. Cheers and best.
#7 by molly turner field on May 14, 2012 - 5:17 pm
thank you, for the wonderful realistic reassurance. funny, my youngest (8) was asking me today about cactuses and if they die when it gets cold and i said, “no, they just go dormant.” and we had a very good chat about the word “dormant” and how Spanish has “dormir” for “to sleep” and “dormitory” and so now that i read this, i realize that it means i can rest a bit. i’ve read a lot and written a lot but nothing on my WIP which means the blog can sit a bit and i can get back to the Next Great American Novel (ha!) i shared this post on my blog’s facebook page. It’s a wonderful balanced perspective.
“Our brains are fertile soil for ideas, for imagination to take root and bloom and produce the good fruits of our genius. But we need to rest. In our Western culture, we are world-renowned for never resting. Yet, we are equally renowned for being morbidly obese and medicated for all kinds of psychiatric disorders. We are renowned for being frazzled, fried and stressed.” : Sublime.
Have a nice long wonderful break. Hear from you soon, y’heah?
#8 by lynnkelleyauthor on May 14, 2012 - 5:19 pm
I LOVE that song, Turn, Turn, Turn. It’s always held deep meaning to me. I’m one of those people who turns into a zombie if I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep, at least, so I don’t feel guilty at all when I need to rest. I listen to my body. There’s no creativity at all in my zombie state. So I totally agree with you.
I also love to garden, get my hands in the soil, either planting or pulling weeds, or digging, or landscaping with rocks or whatever. My problem is I can’t pull just one weed. Nope, it’s impossible to pull one and leave the rest. I kind of get like you did on that mower when you couldn’t stop, and some days would be pulling weeds in the dark with a bit of light from the patio. That’s definitely a badA$$ photo. You should have hopped onto that mower with your gun and had hubby take a pic of that, too! I bet you can mow and shoot snakes at the same time! How cool that your husband made the trail for you to follow with the mower!
I hope you have a blast at the conference. Boy, I sure wish I could join you guys, but that’s impossible for me right now. Enjoy your vacation at the ranch with your peeps. Those are the best of times. We’ll be here when you get back, refreshed and renewed.
#9 by barbaramattio on May 14, 2012 - 5:25 pm
I enjoyed reading this blog. I am also an old hippie and still believe much the same. I am anti-war and I am anti-draft. This is why you parents were hippies and military. There was the draft and at dinner every night we would be subjected to scenes from the war and the pulling of draft numbers. Each night, as you swallowed your dinner, you knew there was a chance someone you knew or who was in your family would be leaving soon for Vietnam. I doesn’t surprise me that they became farmers and worked the earth. Mother earth can heal all wounds. She heals the physical, emotional and the mental. Great blog.
#10 by Andrew on May 14, 2012 - 5:29 pm
I swear I heard a gong and smelled incense in the air while I read this =D. To answer your question, yeah I feel terribly guilty if I take a break, even if I’ve busted my hump writing (in addition to whatever else) for days on end and finally hit the wall about about 60mph. I usually wind up staring at my laptop at that point with little rivulets of drool dripping from my lips and smoke pouring out my ears. Not a pleasant sight, to say the least =P
I hope you enjoy your time off =D
#11 by Jenny Hansen on May 14, 2012 - 5:35 pm
I think I could Night Mow IF I took some major Claritin first. And had wine. Night Mowing definitely calls for some wine or gluten free beer…
#12 by Yvette Carol on May 14, 2012 - 5:43 pm
I love that bit about you ‘keep showing up’. That is the key to success I believe. Over here we have a national rugby team called the All Blacks. They’re the pride of New Zealand in a big way especially at the moment, because this year they won the Rugby World Cup. But they had been beaten many many times before. In fact the French, who they won the final match against, had given them a round kicking and won the cup over our bloody hides the last time we clashed. In the interview with the All Blacks’ captain, Richie McCaw, at the end of the match this time, he was asked for his words. Richie said, that he was proud of his team, because they were real warriors; ‘You keep on trying, you keep on pushing, and when they throw everything at you, you get back up and you keep getting back up.’ I remembered those rousing words because I thought, that goes for everyone in every walk of life. No matter what they throw at you, get up and keep getting back up. That’s the way to triumph.
#13 by annstanleywriting on May 14, 2012 - 5:43 pm
Yes, relax and breathe. I have to constantly remind myself not to take on too much, but I do it anyway. Have a fab conference!
#14 by Willa Blair on May 14, 2012 - 5:43 pm
Your blog couldn’t be better timed. I just finished the first draft of the second book in my HIGHLAND TALENTS series. I need to set it aside and let it marinate by itself for a bit before digging into edits. Your post validated by instinct to do that. Thanks from a fellow Texan.
#15 by Jordan L. Hawk on May 14, 2012 - 5:47 pm
My husband has tried the “Night Mowing” thing once or twice. I don’t recommend it. 😀
I definitely feel guilty if I take a day off, or heck, even an evening off. I feel like I need to be “accomplishing” something all the time, ignoring the fact that some times just sitting back and watching the sunset or a movie, or playing a video game, is accomplishing something: it’s recharging the well.
Enjoy your vacation!
#16 by prudencemacleod on May 14, 2012 - 5:54 pm
Sarah Connor, eat your heart out. Kristin Lamb is on the warpath. Awesome ranch, I’m jealous.
#17 by Pj Schott on May 14, 2012 - 5:59 pm
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, and don’t even know where to begn, I remember something from the Danish runes … “Do without doing and everything gets done.”
#18 by Anne R. Allen (@annerallen) on May 14, 2012 - 6:20 pm
This is such an important topic–and a great post. We live in a culture where taking care of yourself is treated as a vice. When you’ve been pushed to the limit, you’re supposed to take a pill and push even harder. People forget that even the Lord rested on the 7th day. There is a reason why most religions prescribe a day to rest and appreciate what’s been given to us.
I’m with you. Nothing renews me like playing in the dirt!
#19 by T. W. Dittmer on May 14, 2012 - 6:37 pm
Amen about the dirt. And that picture IS bad. Shades of Linda Hamilton.
#20 by allthingsboys on May 14, 2012 - 6:45 pm
This was great–especially after just finishing with some yard work!!! :-). Have a great ime on the farm!
#21 by sageseedchronicles on May 14, 2012 - 6:55 pm
Thank you for this post. It reinforces what I have been unconsciously doing. I wrote four books in ten months. Then my life changed and got…um..interesting. I have two books in partial stages but have been pulling long hours being self employed and shoving the wolves away from the door. To keep my mind in the game (as I edit and prepare a book for launch at the end of this month) is to build a Pinterest board about the 4 book series and the new book. That allows my mind to travel ..developing plot twists and working through snags so when I get an opportunity to write I can fly.
#22 by corajramos on May 14, 2012 - 7:08 pm
This post is so in tune with what I was feeling today. Instead of hitting the computer first thing, I was out pulling weeds, planting, cleaning up the yard. It looks great and I have lots of energy. Great advice that I adhere to. A hippie child, eh? I was a hippie mom. Peace.
#23 by Christine Ashworth on May 14, 2012 - 7:09 pm
Kristen! Yeah, I don’t rest well. I didn’t sleep well last night, and I did a butt-load of work in the garden. Not the same as mowing a farm, but lots of digging and planting and weeding and…I constantly feel behind in my writing work, which is ridiculous but there you go. And I’ve only posted cover reveals and friend’s news, not a real blog post in a week. *hangs head in shame*
I’m stressed and pretending I’m not. Well, that’s gotta change, right? I so wish I could come to the DFW conference this year, but I didn’t plan for it. Hopefully next year.
Have a killer week off, woman. You so deserve it!
#24 by tomburkhalter on May 14, 2012 - 7:11 pm
Kristen, someday I hope to have a place where I can go shooting. I totally envy you being able to go out to the Lamb Farm! Looks great! I have a story set in Texas, too, down southeast of Del Rio near the border… 😉
#25 by christinelondon on May 14, 2012 - 7:35 pm
How wonderful is this post? Life does throw curve balls. I think they are at least partially sent to knock some sense into our overworking heads to rest. In my personal story there was passion and fire to consume all–including common sense–when I began to write.2005 through the death of my mom in 2007, my brother’s passing in 2008 and my Dad’s in 2010. Now my son is in the fight of his life with severe complications of epilepsy. “Slow the hell down woman.” is screaming in my ear. Even now I am guilty to admit I have not written anything new other than blogs in months. Now I don’t even get to them enough.
The work, the creativity will be there after the field is fallow. Life has knocked me to me knees and I forged on. Now it has flattened me. One loss too many and the threat of another is simply not tenable.
I’m a late bloomer without the seemingly endless years ahead to produce good work. Nevertheless, I must pause. A month, a year–I don’t know. In my dreams I have a network of fellow authors able to take up the slack. In reality, I am by nature a loner–a pioneer woman forging the great unknown with tenacity and stubbornness. Foolish me.
Thanks for some much needed support amongst the clarion call to never rest.
A week off?? You so deserve it indeed. Recharge. I wish I had because you never know what curve ball might be heading your way.
#26 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 14, 2012 - 8:03 pm
I have so been there. Back in 1999 my dad died suddenly. I lost four people in less than a year, my job was going to hell, and I dumped my fiancé. It was HORRIBLE. I didn’t slow down, so God made me slow down. I became terribly ill. I am getting better at slowing down, and not waiting until illness does it for me. And the thing is, when we rest, we come back and produce better stuff and MORE stuff in a fraction of the time.
#27 by Christine London on May 14, 2012 - 8:10 pm
Thank you. Love you lots.
#28 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 25, 2012 - 10:11 am
Awwww, thank you *hugs*
#29 by Gloria Richard Author on May 14, 2012 - 7:41 pm
Enjoy your well-earned hiatus from blogging, Kristen.
And, thank you. Phew! Now, I may catch up with your words of wisdom. My Nifty News email folder is crammed with your recent blogs. Blogs I want to read after I catch up with myself.
#30 by James Garcia Jr on May 14, 2012 - 8:07 pm
Thanks for that kick in the pants, Kristen. New follower here. I work 11 hrs a day at the day job, and then because I started writing late (40’s), I find myself pushing hard because of wasted time. I quit playing golf, I hardly watch movies – it’s all go, go, go. I will take your words to heart and think about those seasons that you were talking about.
Thanks for sharing.
#31 by Catherine Johnson on May 14, 2012 - 8:15 pm
Awesome post and love those pics. We all need this reminder. I’ve been doing a lot of painting it makes such a nice change and unlike writing it’s useful lol. With family visits next week and a five week holiday in UK coming up my online habits are going to have to change anyway. I’ll pretend I’m on a writing retreat 🙂 You so deserve a break Kristen.
#32 by Addy Rae on May 14, 2012 - 8:22 pm
One of the hardest things about being disabled (other than, you know, awkward ‘so where do you work?’ conversations and the averted eyes reaction from folks) is learning to take breaks. Overdoing it will put me out for a week, but I feel so, so very guilty any time I’m not doing things and being productive. I feel like, since I’m not working, when my fiance gets home I should have a grocery list of ‘look what I did while you were gone see I’m not a leech’ things, and I’m just not capable of that. I feel guilty for having to sit down and recover when my body fails me. I feel guilty that I’m not my best friend, my parents, my fiance with their go, go, going all the time. I’ve spent the last two years learning instead to pace myself and take naps if needed even when they aren’t in the schedule, to sit down instead of pushing myself until it hurts so much I cry.
I’m a lot happier now than I was two years ago. I am more aware of the world around me, and I’m rarely stressed out. I don’t snap and snarl for no reason anymore, and when the weekend comes I’m able to spend time with my fiance instead of just collapsing and needing to be cared for. Most of all, I’m capable of doing more because I’m forcing myself to do less at a time. I don’t end up doing nothing for a week after one or two hard days. I get stuff done; I just take it in smaller bites with lots of breathing in between.
#33 by tomwisk on May 14, 2012 - 8:22 pm
Your post hit home. My parents were from a long line of hard workers. They worked when there was no regular job to be had. They instilled in their children a work ethic that made the Puritans look like slackers. I write. I have to write. It’s a job and I do it.
#34 by colinfalconerauthor on May 14, 2012 - 9:46 pm
After seeing you with the rifle, Kristen, don’t think I’d go sleeping in your back yard anytime soon! I read a thing once, Everything I Needed To Know About LIfe, I Learned From The Godfather and it talked about sometimes ‘going to the mattresses’ – holing up in the safehouse and going to war – because there’s times in your life when someone’s killed your Luca Brazzi and you have to knuckle down and fight if you don’t want to sleep with the fishes also. The danger is thinking that place is home and then burning out. Writing comes from experiencing real life, right? The trick is knowing whether it’s the time for the mattresses or time for pasta and red wine, I guess.
#35 by colinfalconerauthor on May 14, 2012 - 9:51 pm
After seeing you with that rifle, I know I won’t be sleeping in your backyard anytime soon! I read a thing once, Everything I Know About LIfe, I Learned From The Godfather, and it talked about ‘going to the mattresses’, like there’s times in your life you need to get to a safehouse and just go to war, like when someone’s killed your personal Luca Brazzi. The danger is thinking that place is home, because writing comes from life not a laptop. I guess the balance is knowing when it’s time for the mattresses and time for pasta and red wine and just to fuhgeddaboutit. Love your posts.
#36 by heidiwriter on May 14, 2012 - 9:54 pm
LOVE the pic of you and the rifle!!! You rock!
#37 by sheilapierson on May 14, 2012 - 10:28 pm
Great post! wow, you really work hard and play hard – I feel like a weenie… 🙂
#38 by patriciasands on May 14, 2012 - 10:42 pm
#39 by Kay Lynn on May 14, 2012 - 11:05 pm
This was an excellent post and made me feel much less guilty about taking a break from writing now that my novel is finished and out on submission. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. 🙂
#40 by Alisa Flom on May 15, 2012 - 12:07 am
Good for you! Take that rest, if you can make yourself. I realized a long time ago that unless I am not at home I can’t relax. If I am in my house I can only watch TV when I am doing dishes or laundry, etc. and I can’t even tell you the kind of guilt I feel reading a book. Even during those rare vacations that I take with my husband we both feel like we can’t just sit on the beach. There are always museums to visit or buildings to look at, drives to take. We end up coming home from vacation more tired than when we left. The funny thing is that we are both immigrants from Europe and our friends laugh at us while they take FIVE WEEK VACATIONS!!! Yeah, apparently other countries don’t implode if their citizens disappear for five weeks. This is just our bizarre mindset.
#41 by rupy on May 15, 2012 - 12:53 am
… that’ll do, lest I get started rambling.
Thanks Kristen, gold as usual.
#42 by skfigler on May 15, 2012 - 1:21 am
Good to see another boo-to-war family in Texas. I had a very small farm in El Dorado County (CA), so know something of the work involved. But it also was a very good kind of tired. However, even when I’m dog-gone-tired, I like to write. That’s just where my mind seems to go, there or baseball. (Marketing, of course, is quite another thing.)
Here is a pressure-in-spades perspective from NYT—Digital publishing doubles demand on big name writers:
Maybe someday we’ll experience that kind of doubled pressure. Quite a choice.
my blog: SKFigler.com
#43 by Jodi Aman on May 15, 2012 - 2:22 am
Rest and renew! Write shorter posts when you return! Ease up on yourself! You deserve it! Thanks for all you do!
#44 by Shantnu Tiwari on May 15, 2012 - 2:49 am
Is that you with the gun? I guess I’ll have to be nice to you from now on…… 😀
#45 by Barbara Forte Abate on May 15, 2012 - 6:17 am
This is one of my favorite posts ever–and I love them all. Still, this one just jumped up and bit me in the buns just when I’m on the verge of tromping on the gas even while sensing that I surely need to hit the brakes. I’m certifiably guilty of Night Mowing on the computer screen, thinking if I can just cut down the big weeds the meadow will be clear and tidy and life will be perfect. Of course that’s a load of crap, because anybody with a brain knows how fast those weeds bounce back, thus making for tasks that never really go away. Ah, but Work hard, Rest easy–herein lies the key.
Far too often I treat my time away from my “duties” like forced vacations rather than restful interludes, which is just pitiful. It shortchanges real life when we proceed through the days [and nights] as though what we’re doing at the keyboard trumps the joy of pure and uncluttered moments otherwise known as REST.
Thanks for this, Kristen. It’s a beauty 😀
#46 by Romy Sommer on May 15, 2012 - 6:27 am
Your post really struck a chord for me, Kristen. Right post, right time.
You know you could make a fortune getting burned out writers to work on your family ranch?
Thanks – I’m off to take a well-earned rest now.
PS: Love the badass picture!
#47 by Natalie Hartford on May 15, 2012 - 6:57 am
Beautiful written Kristen and a very important sentiment for people to take to heart. It’s just as important to work hard, play hard and rest hard. Success in life is all about balance, isn’t it?
ENJOY your week off – a much earned and needed break. I hope you have a BLAST at the DFWCon and enjoy some time at the ranch with the world’s best peeps! I’ll be there in spirit ~clinking~ glasses!
#48 by Running from Hell with El on May 15, 2012 - 7:13 am
You really are a bad-ass. Linda Hamilton from T2. Love it.
#49 by Jen FitzGerald on May 15, 2012 - 8:25 am
Amen, Kristen. I know I don’t have the stamina and guard my resting periods zealously. And speaking of a time for everything, I heartily believe that! So much so that that’s what I named my blog five years ago when I started it. 🙂 (here’s the link: http://jenfitzgerald.blogspot.com/2012/05/kristen-lamb.html)
Thanks for the reminder though!
#50 by Lanette on May 15, 2012 - 9:03 am
This is an important reminder for me right now because I’ve been feeling guilty for taking a break. I’ll be going to Hungary to do some research for my next novel, and I’ve been conducting research via books and internet before I go, and I’ve been learning the language. What I haven’t done is written a single word, yet I feel guilt for not writing. But this isn’t the season for writing; it’s the season for research and learning a new language. Thanks for the reminder, Kristen.
#51 by broadsideblog on May 15, 2012 - 10:03 am
It is a sadly American compulsion to workworkworkwork and never feel you’re doing enough. Because….?
I learned my lesson — as Kristen and others have — by working when I was ill and ended up in March 2007 on an IV in the hospital for three days with pneumonia. It took a full month to even regain normal strength and I changed my work habits since then. I never feel guilty for napping or taking a break. Why should I? I make enough money from my writing to meet my bills and save 15-25% of my annual income for retirement. What else do I need to do? Who else, beyond myself and my husband (and my clients/editors/agent) do I need to please?
I’m taking the month of June off and can’t wait. The only plan is to polish my 3rd NF book proposal but I don’t plan to spend more than a few nights on that. Eat, sleep, swim, hike, relax. Repeat.
#52 by JM Randolph on May 15, 2012 - 10:34 am
Wow, what a beautiful opening picture of the ranch! But I think maybe the “combat” picture is my favorite. I tend to feel guilty when I rest because I tend to feel overwhelmed- meaning, I feel there is always something I am neglecting, not enough me to go around. But as I become more effective, I feel less that way, and am more able to listen to my body & soul to see what I need. Also, there’s nothing like being violently ill to give you a bit of rest. . . though I’m not sure that counts. I did get a ton of sleep the past two days and dropped five pounds. heh.
#53 by theliteratecondition on May 15, 2012 - 11:14 am
I just started volunteering on an organic CSA farm, and I love it! I’ve had a small garden when the landlord approved, otherwise small container garden, and even working in these miniatures I felt a sense of renewal and calm and… well, the term is “grounding” and it refers to the ground, to the earth for a reason. Because that is home and it is life and it is what holds us up and what supports us.
I’m happy to hear about your retreat! It sounds wonderful, looks gorgeous (thanks for sharing the photos!), and we already know it will be great.
Just a note in case anyone is interested – a great non-fiction book about the importance of going out in nature to our health (mental and physical), especially as regards our children (but for all of human-kind) is “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv. And, of course, blogs by the amazing Kristen Lamb. Because it’s all related, it’s all relevant.
#54 by Susette on May 15, 2012 - 11:25 am
Just yesterday I was congratulating myself on finding my balance. I write M-F and work weekends at a part-time job I love. (This job takes the pressure off of hurrying to get my books out there) Everyday I spend an hour building my author platform/presence and I plan to self-pub when all five of my books are ready…I am working on number 5. Thanks to you and Bob Mayer/Jen Talty I have a great plan.
I write for 4-5 hours then my kids get home and they hang outside and I work in the yard/garden. I take naps if I need them and evenings are for reading and movie watching…I love my LIFE!
#55 by Katherine Owen - Author on May 15, 2012 - 12:11 pm
Well, the picture of you with a gun on a ranch is priceless, Kristen! #loveit
We take a family vacation with my brother and his wife and kids every year to the Oregon Coast. Just last week I was saying to my husband that I can’t wait to take a day off and plan on not working/writing while we’re at the coast in late July. He’s taking bets on that.
I loved your post! I have been struggling with the writing and the promoting ~ all of it. I can’t seem to find my mojo. I don’t know where the hours go each day. Within your message, I realize that the ingredient missing from my life is “true rest”. Thanks for pointing that out. It reminds me that to stay strong I really do need to take a day off (and, not just once a year, on vacation, either!)
#56 by jadwriter on May 15, 2012 - 12:45 pm
Have a good rest, Kristen. My body usually tells me when I need a break from writing as I tend to feel not quite right, like yesterday. I only wrote a few notes for a letter I plan to write to a magazine and went on the internet, but didn’t work on the book I have been doing. I also have a nap in the afternoon once I have finished writing/typing. The rest yesterday recharged me and was back to form again today. I say listen to your head and body for a rest. If you start to feel ill, then stop.
#57 by Jane Bailey Bain ('LifeWorks') on May 15, 2012 - 2:01 pm
We all need time to rest. Sometimes it takes a piece like this to make us feel we have permission to relax. You’re helping a lot of people here.
Another way of looking at it: sometimes you need to change your self (and public) image. If you spend too much time on duty, you can run out of energy. You do still care, but even your emotions can start to feel numb. That’s when you need to take a break, and change your archetype for a while. Stop being the endlessly nurturing good mother, and identify with the wild woman for a while instead. Go out with your girlfriends for the evening. You’ll return refreshed, and those in your care will actually be better off.
After all, we need to take care of ourselves if we’re going to look after the world!
#58 by dreambelievefly on May 15, 2012 - 4:02 pm
Thanks Kristen for this post! I love the analogy to the soil. My husband and I are giving our little garden a rest this year. 🙂 Also, I’ve been pushing myself to finish my book, so your post comes at the appropriate time. I need to rest my brain. 🙂 Thanks again.
#59 by malindalou on May 15, 2012 - 9:10 pm
I can’t agree with you more about all writers needing a complete break from time to time (I have a similar post on the value of quiet time.) I take mine through regular hypnosis sessions and trips to the spa. I would not be nearly as creative without them.
#60 by Jess Witkins on May 15, 2012 - 11:43 pm
I can’t wait for the conference and sitting in on your classes! You know you’re gonna be swarmed by a WANA crowd of groupies after, right?
#61 by athenabrady1 on May 16, 2012 - 5:33 am
first of all have a lovely rest and come back with your creative genius buzzing. You are precious to us. I was just thinking this morning siiting on my porch listening to the birds singing, how nature has its own clock. My granfather was a farmer in Ireland and he told me you must let the land rest, plant on it one year and rest the next year. I believe there is a season for everything for everything and we have to respect that. I also think we meet people at the right time for us to learn what we need to learn. Anyway I will stop rattling on now, how a lovely break
#62 by athenabrady1 on May 16, 2012 - 5:34 am
…and I must also learn to edit properly before I publish lol
#63 by Julie Glover on May 16, 2012 - 6:41 am
So beautifully put. For the most part, I don’t write on weekends anymore. I know the admonition to “write every day,” but I find that I prefer the “treat writing like a job” plan where I give it 100% for a certain number of hours per week and then rest up. My mind is still flowing then, but not on a schedule.
And I love the gun pic! Even as a born-and-bred Texan, I have never fired a real gun, and that’s on my life list. How much diffferent can it be from a BB gun, right? 😉
Enjoy the vacation! See you at DFW Con.
#64 by Janet Taylor on May 16, 2012 - 8:18 am
Looking forward to learning from you at DFWcon! Then– you have yourself a wonderful rest! Stay away from them rattlers! (you’re not planning a wal-mart trip are you? lol)
#65 by livrancourt on May 16, 2012 - 10:59 am
There’s a whole post in the difference that electronic lighting has made to the world – heck, there’s probably a doctoral thesis there. Hope the conference goes well for you, and that you have fun on the ranch.
#66 by nicolepyles on May 16, 2012 - 9:41 pm
Ohhh I am so guilty of this! Good for you or taking a breather! And your right, we need our mind to rest!
By the way I just gave you the “Kreativ Blogger” award! 🙂
#67 by Ryan M. Murphy on May 18, 2012 - 11:23 am
Great post! I also gave you the “Kreativ Blogger” award. I always enjoy your blog posts 🙂
#68 by Michael Bumagin on May 18, 2012 - 11:57 am
Turn, Turn, Turn! Words by some OT prophet; music by the GREAT!!! Pete Seeger of the Weavers. That group got ME through college20 years before BHO. Nice pix, K! Keep it up!
#69 by Keri Peardon on May 18, 2012 - 2:46 pm
I’m working on my conversion to Judaism, and one challenge I’m facing is resting on the Sabbath. No work! (And “work” is defined as anything creative or destructive; you’re just supposed to exist on the Sabbath and do nothing to alter yourself or anything else.)
That’s incredibly hard–not because I’m incapable of laying around all day and doing nothing–but because I feel incredibly GUILTY for laying around and doing nothing. And I’m really bad about saying, “this weekend I need to do A-Z,” and set myself an unrealistic amount of work. Then I feel guilty about not getting it all done.
So my first step towards Sabbath observance is to relieve myself of all obligations–especially those I put on myself.
BTW, if you want to cull some of your wild hogs, I know some medieval re-enactors who like boar hunting medieval-style (14th century clothing, spears, and crossbows). My friend Edward and the St. Hubert’s Rangers: http://www.sthubertsrangers.org/TN1011G.jpg. (I saw the remains of that boar put in a cookpot in March; alas, I could not eat it.)
#70 by Frankie Robertson on May 19, 2012 - 12:38 am
Thanks! This reminder was just what I needed.
#71 by becca puglisi on May 19, 2012 - 6:19 am
Thank you for this, Kristen. I’m a big believer in resting to recharge. So important. Good for you for taking a week off!
#72 by faith hope & cherrytea on May 19, 2012 - 10:39 am
FaB to meet you via the Bookshelf Muse’s RAK Week !
I am sooo linking RIGHT HERE !
#73 by lindseyjparsons on May 20, 2012 - 11:51 am
Thank you Kristen for another great blog. It is so easy for us to forget we need to rest and then feel guilty for taking any time off!
And also Thank you from my ex-husband for inventing night mowing, an other excuse to spend more time with his tractors!
#74 by Cheryl Ammeter on May 21, 2012 - 10:45 am
Kristen, all of your hard work paid off at the conference. Every time you opened your mouth I was mesmerized – well, that and your green eye shadow, which was simply stunning!
I learned so much about the current landscape of writing and publishing, that I’m a little breathless by the “number” of book sales within my grasp if I make the right moves.
Teach me your moves ninja writer/blogger and I will learn to snatch the pebble from your hand, then pass your wisdom on to the person following behind me by sneezing all over them!
“Ivey and the Airship”
#75 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 21, 2012 - 3:58 pm
It was such a joy meeting you and getting to know you! Of course I will teach you and I am thrilled to see you at my blog. I was just telling someone about your beautiful book. I am totally buying a copy.
#76 by Cheryl Ammeter on May 21, 2012 - 4:58 pm
Thanks for the sneeze, gorgeous!
#77 by A. Colleen Jones on May 21, 2012 - 5:23 pm
Oh my god, sometimes it feels like you’re inside my head – that is exactly the topic that is coming up for me lately. I need to rest more, pace myself, chill out before I collapse! I am doing so many things that I am not doing the thing I want to do most – write children’s books. I sometimes do so much that nothing gets done. Thank you for the great photos and descriptions of your farm. Cleaning out black widow spider nests? Yick!!! I’ll go milk the cows, thanks! Colleen 🙂
#78 by katmagendie on May 22, 2012 - 3:44 pm
Rest . . . yes. Do have a great rest!
I’ll be doing the same when I travel to Oregon this summer to see my son, DIL, and granddaughter. I almost completely unplug and I don’t work on whatever current novel I am working on. It’s bliss.