Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

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Posts Tagged: Caring for Your Special Needs Dog

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Today we are super fortunate to have a guest post from one of our WANA International Artist Instructors. Natalie left her life in PR to become a multi-published author, blogger, and mentor to writing moms all over the world. Those of us who write while juggling babies, diapers, laundry and bottles know that we have unique challenges. People like Natalie are a real treasure. She dedicates her life to teaching writing moms how to balance life, work, writing and family and not go off the deep end.

Take it away, Nat!


I love conferences. I enjoy dressing up in my beautifully professional suits, meeting new people (or maybe agents) in the Starbucks line, going over and planning my workshops out to detail that could rival my old college course schedule and yes, I really love laughs with new friends at the bar.

That was the outlook of my younger self. Now I have one BIG issue keeping me from most conferences and it’s comes in a small, blond and highly energetic package.  Conferencing it up as a mom is very difficult. However, thanks to the wonderful World Wide Web, conferences are becoming more virtual. Parents are finding it easier to maintain a professional presence while cartoons blare from the next room.

WANA International, which “empowers artists of a digital age” is hosting the first WANA Con: Worldwide Writing Conference starting tomorrow. This is a conference that accommodates writers that may not be an easy flight to a big city. I definitely understand if you are shaking your head to this one; I live and work from Saudi Arabia. WANACon is the perfect conference for writing moms (and dads, too) who can’t easily leave because of a child, dependent furry children and/or needy spouses.

Sure you pay a registration fee but look at the money you save on travel, food, that pretty new “power suit” you’ve had your eye on, etc. From the comforts of your home or as WANA Mama, Kristen Lamb says, “a party in your P.J.’s, the ultimate writer fantasy.”

And you’ll still get that networking feel (just provide your own “adult” beverage.) WANA A.I’s or “artistic instructors” will be in the virtual “hallway” and “classrooms” chatting with attendees. You’ll have web time with instructors of various topics. This is a great opportunity to learn about future workshops prior to signing up. There’s no better person to ask such questions to than the instructor.

WANACon also is bringing the benefit of agent pitches right to your computer. Really! You are getting those benefits of a great conference experience without leaving your home!

So when you’re tired, struggling to write thanks to your third cup of coffee and praying your toddler honors their bedtime, take a big breath. There is a conference for you that no tantrum can ruin. Dust the Cheerios from your shoulder and brush up on those pitches. It’s time to sign-up for WANACon.

P.S. Anyone who signs up for WANA Con is eligible for a special discounted rate of my upcoming “Writing Moms (and Dads!)” workshop as well as the consultation component. Just let me know when you want to sign-up for my workshop and I’ll ensure you get the discount.

Oh and there is a pajama contest during the conference. Yep, you don’t want to miss this! Sign-up for WANA Con!

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Natalie C. Markey is an author, mommy, wife, animal lover and chaos manager extraordinaire. After a career in professional dancing and public relations/television in New York City she successfully turned her part-time writing career into a full-time career. She is the author of ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog’ and speaks on the topics of time management for writing moms and busy artists.  She also writes YA and MG fiction with a new non-fiction dog book on the way and holds numerous local and National freelancing contracts. Natalie graduated from Baylor University. She is thankful for the support of her husband, daughter, dog and two very hoppy bunnies.

Happy Friday!!!! Today I have a real treat for you. My pal and fellow Who Dares Wins Author, Natalie Markey is here to talk to us about a critical subject for many of us. How can we better balance being a great parent AND a great writer? Writer Moms (and even Writer Dads) face a unique set of challenges; like how to get Goldfish out of the CD drive in our computer or ways to endure the psychological torture of Barney without curling into the fetal position.

I love you. You love me. That’t why we’re in ther-a-py.

It is a tough road, being a writer parent. Balancing protags and potty training, narrative structure and Leggo landmines. Yet, in the WANA spirit…WE ARE NOT ALONE. Better still, we are in this together! I am not only your teacher, but your teammate and I am here to equip you for success…even if that means shutting up and bringing in experts who are smarter than me.

Natalie is going to offer some tips on how to remain sane and productive and keep your child alive. She also will be teaching a Write It Forward on-line course for more tips and tools to balance this wild and crazy writer parent life (feel free to sign up if you are the parent of small pets or houseplants. Have to start somewhere). Make sure you sign up for her class (link is below). I will be there with fresh notebook and Crayons (my Spawn has hidden all my pens), and I hope to see you in class!

Take it away Natalie!

One night, about a year ago I had an “ah ha” moment (and no I wasn’t watching Oprah.) It was about 3 a.m. and I was writing on my laptop, when I scratched my back and found a dried, dirty burp rag on my shoulder. I was exhausted, thankful that my baby was asleep and happy for sometime to write but I thought, “there must be an easier way to do this?” I mean really? I was so out of it that I didn’t realize I had a dirty burp rag on me. Well, I’m not sure if there is an easier way to be a writing mom, but there is a smarter way.

My daughter is now 14-months-old. I am blessed to be able to work from home, where I can be with her. This does, however present a need for some creative balancing. It does mean that sometimes I may work late into the night after she is in bed. It does mean that I get up at the insane hour of 5 a.m. so that I can get some work in before she wakes up. But I’ve learned how to balance the two extremes to avoid those 3 a.m. writing sessions.

Being a writing mom takes will power but I’m a firm believer in that if you want something, really want something, then you’ll find a way. I’ve been a freelance journalist for ten years now. I’m a published author of a non-fiction book, ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog’ and working on a second while writing fiction as well. I’m always on deadlines both real ones and self assigned. Some days, that idea of a nap is really appealing but I keep working, writing and striving forward through my goals and toy filled office/baby playroom.

Next month I’m teaching a Write It Forward Workshop through Who Dares Wins Publishing, Writing Moms: How to do it all without losing your mind. If you’re a writing mom seeking help through the burp rag- filled chaos, I’m not going to tell you what to do. Everyone is unique. When I had my daughter, I thought I understood time management. After working in a New York City public relations firm juggling multiple clients, I thought I had this mastered. The truth is that we cannot manage something we cannot control and babies are very uncontrollable!

So, I did a self-study. I literally studied me. By knowing myself, I knew what schedule worked best for me. During the month long workshop I will discuss the study and how moms (and even dads) can learn from it. Through simple trial and error, hopefully you’ll find your rhythm to having it all. But even then there are great days, good days and bad days. And you can have fun including your baby in your work. I always read my work to my daughter and she has been known to go through page proofs.

A major turning point for me was when I learned to let go of some control. This was hard for me because, well I’m a control freak. I LOVE to plan everything. Seriously, when my family goes to Walt Disney World I’m called the Itinerary Queen. After I had my daughter I worked off of to-do lists. This only depressed me because I was only seeing what I wasn’t getting done. Now, I trim everything down to goal lists. This makes things more manageable and not as depressing. The best thing to keep in mind when you’re working with little time is to JUST DO IT!! Yes, think about those Nike shoes in your closet. Just do it! I made the mistake for months after my daughter was born of spending too much time planning.

And now to the really fun part—Sesame Street. My daughter recently started watching this and it’s actually entertaining. I’m a fan and it makes for fantastic lunchtime entertainment. Anyway, I leave you with my teaching assistant, Ernie. Ernie will demonstrate the importance of doing rather than planning when writing a story. Take it away Ernie!

Learn more/sign-up for Writing Moms: How to do it all without losing your mind

Natalie C. Markey is a freelance journalist of ten years. She is the author of ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog.’  In addition to multiple freelance contracts, she continues to write non-fiction as well as fiction. Markey speaks professionally about dogs from an owner’s perspective as well as tackling the major writing issue, how to have it all as a writer and a mother.

Markey is a graduate from Baylor University with a double BA in Journalism/Public Relations and Communication Specialist. She has worked for a NYC PR firm, been the youngest Business Development Director for a National advertising firm, served as the Creative Services Director for the fastest growing CBS affiliate in Texas and served as the Texas Spokesperson for the D.A.R.E. program.  A native Texan, Markey currently lives in an Arkansas forest with her supportive husband, daughter and dog, Oscar. Learn more at