Traits of the Successful Author—Discernment

My mom.

My mom. She’s a loony like me :D.

Many of you who follow this blog have a dream to be a successful author. This requires writing, social media, blogging, revisions, and on and on and on. It’s a lot of work and life, family, kids, day jobs, and housework all provide tempting distractions. The past two days here in Texas have had gorgeous weather and I just wanted to go do something outside and enjoy the balmy temperatures before being thrust into three months of triple-digit hell.

But I needed to finish my revisions. Sigh.

Tuesday, I spent all day with a paper copy of my new book doing line-edits for the umpteenth time. I was finding stuff three other outside editors missed. I worked until my vision was so blurry I couldn’t keep going. Wednesday? Instead of going outside? I finished entering the revisions.

Ah, Life

I was going to indulge in sleeping in today and maybe even finally go outside and enjoy the weather, but got a late-night call my mother is in the hospital and will have emergency surgery today for a hernia. She is the light of my life and one of the funniest people on the planet (I get my talent for humor from her). Get us together and it’s stand-up comedy central. When we lived together, we used to have grocery clerks fight over who’d check us out because we’d always have them in stitches.

My mom is a strong Scandinavian woman, so it’s weird for her to be ill or injured (and not painting anything). She’s like me and just presses through even when she’s tired, sick or hurting. We’re both stubborn :D. I’m keeping up with her and the hospital, but there isn’t much I can do yet, so I’m here talking to you guys (because you always brighten my days).

The thing I want to share is, life doesn’t stop because we want to write. Laundry, dishes, sickness, accidents, trials and temptations will still be around to divert our focus. We will need to develop two traits to succeed long-term. Today we are going to talk about the first one: discernment.


When is it time to work? When do we need rest? When do others truly need us? What are our priorities? Just to warn you, these will change. We need to always be revisiting what should be a priority in life, and in what order.

Today, my mom will be a priority as soon as I hear something. Entropy is real and so we must do constant adjustments to deadlines, goals, and expectations (of ourselves and others). As we talked about earlier, I am still working on discerning when to rest. We are all works in progress. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Being Balanced

Writers who are successful long-term have balance. Discernment is critical to achieving balance. Writing should never come first in our lives. I spent an hour yesterday chasing The Spawn around the house playing with swords. I take regular breaks to play with him and let him know he’s loved. Maybe read Dinosaur vs. Bedtime 14 times until he returns to playing with his cars.

Every evening, Hubby and I play video games together and now we’re learning to play guitar together. We do this to wind down. See, I realized I wasn’t resting enough and now I’m striving to be better at it.

Making the Rounds

I take timed breaks in between writing work to do a load of laundry, then back and write an hour, then do the dishes, then back to writing. I keep up with friends and family regularly on the phone. I can talk to them while I tidy the house and do the chores. I take a 90 minute break in the morning and talk to my mom while I mop, dust, make beds, etc. For me, I require a neat home or it affects my creativity and focus, so I knew I needed to work chores into the schedule. I don’t have the luxury of cleaning all day.

I had to learn to take my core priorities and then deliberately make rounds.

1. Time with kid? Check.

2. Dishes done while talking to Mom? Check.

3. Blog up? Check.

4. Bed made? Check.

5. An hour of editing? Check.

6. Tickle The Spawn until he screams? Check.

7. Video games with Hubby? Check.

8. Playing on the Kinect with The Spawn? Check.

9. Dinner made? Check.

10. Spend Saturday with Grandmother (who has dementia)? Check.

11. Visit Mom in hospital and make sure she’s tended (Note: Move to top of list)

Making our writing a priority is vital, but it won’t fulfill us if it comes at the expense of our relationships, our health, and our peace.  And to warn you, you will never get there. Our In-Boxes will never be empty. Ever.

Just about the time things are humming along, I guarantee something (like an ill family member) will toss in something new to juggle. The trick is to accept that it’s not personal, just life. Learn to roll with it. Expending emotion at the unfairness/hassle of it all takes energy you need for being creative.

Yes, there are times we need to press. The two days I would have rather been in the park, I needed to work 16 hour days to finish. But this can’t be a way of life. It would be like trying to sprint a marathon. Life is much like a marathon. One foot in front of the other. Breaks, water and snacks when needed. Keep moving. Then, when needed? Sprint! Then rest.

And repeat.

Today, I’m headed to the hospital once I hear something. Am supposed to go to a graduation tonight, but that might have just shifted down the list. We are only responsible to do what we can control. What we can’t control? Let it go. The world won’t end ;). I seriously need a nap though. Pretty wiped.

Do you struggle with balance? With knowing what to make a priority? Do you find yourself being too rigid? I know I do. Have to work on that. Are you a worrier? Do you procrastinate? Have you been able to successfully achieve a nice balance? What did you do?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, 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 once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!


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  1. Prayers to your mom for a speedy recovery.

  2. Keeping your mom in my thoughts and prayers today as I sit at Starbucks struggling to make anything come out of my fingers…

  3. Blessings and prayers for you and your mom. And thanks for keeping your blog (and all of us) on your List. Check.

  4. I hope your mother’s surgery will go well. I’m sending all the positive energy I can your way.
    As for balance, it’s really hard for me to get: I work full time (that one job that pays the bill) and I don’t live with my partner, so making time to be together complicates our shcedules. At least, he’s very supportive.

  5. Sending good wishes for a speedy recovery to your mom.

  6. Another good reason for “Making the rounds” is that it helps your brain process to take a break and do something physical. I often find myself refreshed and ready to break through an obstacle after I “stop thinking” about my writing for a little bit.

    Best of luck to your mom. My wife is one of those Scandinavians as well. I’m sure she’ll make it through fine.

  7. Sending good wishes to your mom. May her recovery be swift.

  8. Praying for your Mom! Scandinavian – where? I’m from Norway.
    ~ Love, Nina ~

  9. Keeping you and your mom in my thoughts today!
    I have huge issues with balance, I find it do well, then fall down and wallow in my failures for a while then try again. I do have to say it seems like my wallowing gets less and less each time I fell. 🙂
    For me I try and do an hour each day on the things that are important, an hour of writing, an hour of family (during the school year this is mostly cleaning or cooking), and an hour focused on work kids (which means computer down and actually doing things with them). If I can do an hour of focused work/play on these three then I feel so much better.

  10. Thank you for sharing so much with a total stranger like me. May your mother have a speedy and full recovery.

  11. Praying for your mom! I’m very close to both my moms (got a step-mom). I’d pretty much drop anything if they were in the hospital too. Writing would definitely go on the back burner.

  12. You and your mom in my prayers…Kristen? Go outside sometimes. Even as a successful writer, life doesn’t get longer. The first thing I thought as I read the beginning of this post —-Some things are way more important than work. Glad you made yourself a list!

  13. First and foremost, prayers to your mom. I need a checklist. And like you, I need to be flexible enough to shift the order of my checklist around and remember that while it’s important for me to have a plan, I can change the plan as life requires.

  14. Best wishes to you and your mom – Virtual hugs –

    • Julia on June 6, 2013 at 10:57 am
    • Reply

    Prayers and healing thoughts for your mom and you! {{{hugs}}} I can really appreciate the need for discernment of what is necessary. I left the corporate world in January and am still working on finding a regular routine. It’s almost worse for me now that I don’t have to fit my writing & other creative endeavors around the 9 hour chunk of working for someone else. But, I’m making my way – and my lists! Again… thinking of you and your mom!

  15. Yes, yes, yes to everything you said today. Hope your mom has a speedy recovery.

    • ckraggio on June 6, 2013 at 10:58 am
    • Reply

    I definitely struggle with juggling my daily life and writing. And I at times will have a two-year-old tantrum on why life insists on keeping me from doing what I love. You are truly an inspiration, Kristen. I read your blog religiously and alway take something away from it. Thank you for doing what you do. Prayers for your mom for a speedy recovery.

  16. Prayers for your mom at this time. Finding a balance between kids, home, hubby, and writing, is one of my biggest struggles. Thanks for such a great post!

  17. The manic overdrive that this time of year brings, is not limited to the wildlife outside my window! Juggling writing and family life, my daily mantra becomes, “Balance, balance, balance.” My latest blog post deals with that very subject.

  18. It is interesting you bring this up. Yesterday I had to put editing work on the back burner when I had to rush to the hospital. My daughter had dropped a picnic table on her leg at work. She came out with just some scrapes and bruising but it changed my day by about three hours.

    I managed to get the editing and such done later last night. So even that wasn’t a total wash. Not all of our priorities are as urgent as that, but it still helps to keep it all in perspective.

  19. I had a hernia operation. Leading up to it I had some major worries. But, bravado pulled me through. Once it was done, I did not need the pain meds they suggested. Just to get even and accept the mandatory rest, I laid in bed and took coursed in sentence structure. Your Mom will find out she worried for naught.

  20. First, I hope your mother recovers soon. It’s hard to do other things when a loved one is not well. Second, Thank you for the reality check. Sometimes we are so focused on one facet of our lives that other areas suffer. Great wisdom in this post. Thanks.

  21. Prayers for easy surgery and swift recovery for your mom.

  22. Kristin, thanks. Your loving concern for your family and the value in life adds to the value of my author’s work. For years now balancing everything has been a priority, and it’s great to have another author express the same values.

  23. Having just returned from a 2-week vacation, (and true vacation — no work at all and five days computer/cellphone free), I actually feel like human being again. It made me realize how much I chain myself to the computer, (even just as a time-waster) instead of reading, walking, talking to a friend instead. I write for a living, but compulsive overwork is no excuse for anyone!

    One suggestion you did not make (!?) and one I have been using for a while now is a part-time hourly-paid assistant, whose presence allowed me to actually enjoy my vacation when (of course) an editor needed my attention right in the middle of my week camping alone at the Grand Canyon. She, too, knows when I burn out and even sent me a box of calming tea.

    I also hired a 2x-month house-cleaner and those two people — for a monthly cost of maybe $200 or so — have made my life much easier and allowed me to delegate and flee.

    Best wishes to you and your mother.

  24. Aww, Kristen, super-sized hug, and prayers for your mom. She sounds like a terrific gal. You are one amazing lady yourself. Taking a break – to CLEAN? LOL!

    Hubby and I like to unwind together with a cocktail and a boardgame before dinner. Doesn’t happen every evening – somebody having a homework meltdown or him working late can throw a monkeywrench in the plans – but it’s great when we can do it!

    God Bless,

  25. Wishing the best for your mom (hubs had hernia surgery recently – I know how that can be). And balance is SO needed for us writers. Our writing is important and brings happiness, but if it crowds out the more important things – like family – the affects will not be lasting.

  26. Sending prayers for your comfort and your mom’s healing.

    I’m reading this today as I’m looking around at things neglected. Thanks for the reminder of giving myself permission, something I forget. Off to the laundry room.

    • Janet B on June 6, 2013 at 11:34 am
    • Reply

    Hope your mom gets better soon. Even getting outside and absorbing 10 minutes of sunshine increases your vitamin D level and helps your immune system. It improves your mood and makes life better Remember to take time for yourself, or you won’t be able to take care of everyone else.

  27. {{{HUGS}}} And prayers that her surgery is uneventful and successful.

    Finding the balance. I’m still working on that one. 😀

    • Melissa Lewicki on June 6, 2013 at 11:46 am
    • Reply

    Your mom (and you!) will be in my thoughts today.

  28. Echoing the wishes of others for your mom’s speedy recovery.
    I can justify devoting my life to my writing–I can justify balance. Which wins is determined by the day. I’m fortunate to have family and friends that support both burning desires.

  29. Kristen, I pray that your mother gets healthy and that her surgery is a success. I know what it feels like to have a sick loved one and something as simple as a well wish helps immensely.
    I’ve had to reevaluate my life lately. I have never had a real job. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay home and raise two children.
    But now with my husband on permanent disability, I’ve had to suck it up and find a job. And since I never finished college, I’m not very marketable, so actually…I’ve had to find two.
    At first I was frightened. How will I write?
    But now I realize that I’ll have to use a bit of “discernment” and find the time. I have to find balance.
    I’m not worried about helping to support my family any more. Dusty did it for years. Now it’s my turn, and It’s gonna be okay.
    With the WANAs on my side, anything is possible 🙂

    Have a wonderful evening, and, as always, thank you for your wisdom.


    • malindalou on June 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm
    • Reply

    (HUGS) and prayers to your family and your mom! I hope her surgery and recovery go well.

  30. Prayers for you and your family. Hope your mom is well soon!

  31. Prayers for your mum, she sounds a remarkable lady. It sounds like we are all improving our balance but who knows what’s around the corner, like you say. My parents are visiting from England soon but as luck would have it I am mainly painting now and my mum is a painter. I take the dog for two walks every day but not far and it helps me relax before I crack on with the next thing. Take care!

  32. Just yesterday, I told my hubby my to-do list, and his response was, “It sounds like you need to prioritize.” Well, YEAH! It’s always easier said than done, though.

    I think my real struggle is that I’m guilty of doing things that are “down time” but not “refresh-me time.” So I’m looking into that more–how I choose to use that time.

    Saying a prayer for your mom. It’s lovely that you can be there with her.

  33. Best wishes for your Mom’s speedy recovery.
    Balance, balance, balance…and the struggle for it. Great piece. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Hope things go well with your Mom.
    As for me, I don’t just struggle with balance, I am frequently conquered by it. Balance is St. George, and I am the Dragon. I haven’t hit any sort of a stride in my life. Anytime something shows up on the calendar, I feel like I hadn’t gotten any of the rest of it figured and now THIS?
    That’s just how I am I guess.

  35. Hope all is well with your mom. As for your list? Reminded me of Brian Tracy’s “Eat That Frog” book. I really loved it…and it helped me to become more productive both personally and professionally.

  36. The luxury of cleaning all day? Wow, that’s a perspective I need to adopt! Balancing is serious work sometimes. I have to reassess my priorities for the day every few hours to make sure everything that MUST get done gets done, most of what’s important gets done, and at least some of what would be nice to do gets done. It’s impossible to do it all, but it’s definitely possible to strike a good balance as long as you’re paying attention to where the time goes.

    I hope your mom does well.

  37. Kristen, It sounds to me that your priority list is perfect, you are with your mom now when she needs you, and with your Grandma, whether she knows she needs you or not. They are both very lucky to have you, who makes them a priority.

  38. With the guitar, now you’ll have callous and sore finger tips AND carpal tunnel. Do you get your nails done? I gave up! I’m doing good just to keep them clean.

  39. Hope your Mom is out of the hospital and feeling in tip-top shape again real soon! I have to tell you that you hit the nail on the head. I’ve been working without taking many breaks. Even when I take them, they don’t amount to much. I’m going to take your advice: work an hour then do something else. Maybe it’ll help my writing. You know what Steven King said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Thanks!

  40. Kristen, I’m thinking of you and your mom! Hope her surgery goes smoothly. I just went to Church with my Dad this past weekend and the pastor was talking about the same message as you. We’re tested constantly. The exact moment you decide to donate more to a charity is the time when your car breaks down. For me, I quit my job and have been madly searching for a new one. I’m freaking out financially and it seems like the bills keep going higher. But I also think it’s the smartest move I’ve ever made and one of the first big decisions where I’m making it for ME. But everyday there’s doubt about “Am I doing this right?”

    Thanks for always being so honest and open with all your readers. We appreciate it! Again, thinking of you and your mom, hoping all is well!

  41. Our moms sound like similar women, Kristen: strong, Scandinavian, and hilarious. I’m holding you and your in the Light, to quote the Quakers.

    Balance is hard. I try not to multitask. Background task? Yes. Multitask? No.

    Good post.

  42. Sending positive thoughts out to you and your Mama! Thanks for the reminder to keep things in perspective. It’s easy to let our lives steamroll us.

  43. So true! This is exactly where I am at, trying to learn to balance, prioritize, figure out why I’m having these anxiety issues. I think the answer is just at the back of my mind, if only I slow down long enough to listen to what my body, emotional stability (or instability) is telling me, but my eyes are veiled.

    Prayers <3

  44. I hope your mom recovers quickly. I laughed when you said the checkout people fought over you and your mom–haha! when I worked retail I loved it when people were funny and talked to me like a real person and not a robot. It made my day.

  45. I so needed to read this as I was scrambling all day to try to get too many things done. I am going to just stop for now and go spend time with my husband before I have to go to play rehearsal.

  46. Best wishes to your Mom! And kudos to you for recognising your priorities…

  47. Sending prayers and well wishes to your Mom! I’ve just realized I’ve cooped myself up in the writing world too much. I need to go out and let my loved ones know that I care. Thanks for a great post as always.

  48. First of all, I hope all goes well with your mom. Second of all, you sound like you have an awesome life. I find that sometimes when I’m doing things other than writing, (like bottle feeding two week old baby goats this morning) solutions to writing problems come and punch me in the face. For this I am grateful!

  49. I am trying to get a tablet. Or WiFi cell phone/palm to be able to write outside. Our commercial passenger buses offer WiFi and so do some privately owned restaurants. But a new problem has occurred. I just learned our new Internet Cafes cannot open 3 ½ diskettes so many have lost files and USB drives are forecasted as next. Storage or back-up storage will be a problem. Long-term success needs storage and back-up. You can print and keep it in drawer to re-type if you have long-term ink, which will last for years. You can transfer data on to a tablet PC and I already heard the question of what if you cannot open your tablet PC. What good is planning for struggling the long-term for success, if we do not have a safe and secure way of keeping data for the long-term. Websites can close. I guess; good night sleep patterns for continued memory to write it years from now will be needed.

  50. I really, REALLY struggle with balance. Part of that is because of my odd work schedule – I’m 3000 km away from home 15 days straight, and then home for 13 days. During my days away at work I have a pretty rigid schedule: get up early and exercise, work a 12 hour shift during which I write as much as I can in a notebook whenever I’m not doing anything, pluck out blog posts on my iPhone while on the bus back from work, eat and go to bed early so I can get up early to exercise again. When I get home the whole thing goes to hell. I find it difficult to get anything other than a bit of cleaning down here and then while trying to get as much time in with my daughter as possible before going back to work. I rarely ever get any writing done while I’m home except for blog posts, and don’t even get me started on the revisions/editing for my manuscript.

    Basically, I’m a wreck. If it weren’t for my day job I’d probably be in better shape, but we’d also be well below the poverty line. 😛

  51. I’m in awe that you can write with that lot going on. I have one boy and elderly parents a long way away. My in-laws are ok but they are a long schlep away too. The first thing that happens when anyone in the family gets ill, whenever I start to worry, is that I lose my creative mojo. The worry levels are always close to the red zone – my Mum seems to have pretty omnipresent pleurisy and she’s caring for my Dad who has very little short term memory. So when anything goes wrong and the worry levels inch up… it all grinds to a halt, setting apart the holidays when everything stops anyway. So yeh. Power to you mate!

    I hope your Mum’s op goes well and she’s up and about soon.



  52. I’ve been thinking about you and your mom all day. I wish her a speedy recovery!

    I need to do a better job of prioritizing my activities–thanks for this reminder. ***HUGS***

  53. Praying for your Mom. I struggle a great deal with balance as I’m a workaholic. Wise words here. I am going to ponder on them. Hugs for you and I will also say a prayer for you.

  54. Thinking of your mom. But you’ve also given me a lot to think about regarding write/life balance.

  55. Sending healing thoughts to your Mom!
    I’m always trying to strike a balance between writing and running the household.
    I write for a while, then do the laundry, dishes, etc, then write again. I admit I get carried away when I get huge bursts of energy and write like crazy – then I put household stuff on hold.

  56. More healing thoughts. Nice post, Kristen. I forget, sometimes, to pick my head up out of my work and see to things that really need my attention.

  57. Reblogged this on Laurie Boris, Freelance Writer and commented:
    This post by Kristen Lamb hit home with me today. I edit, write, and do my other wordly tasks with such ferocity. But sometimes I need to pick my head up out of my work, because the world hasn’t stopped moving just because I closed my writing room door.

  58. Sorry to hear about your mum. Hope she recovers quickly. *hugs*

  59. I am currently working on balancing many things in life. I am not succeeding but still trying.
    I hope your Mom is ok.

  60. I loved reading this post first up this morning. I have been feeling guilty about slacking off on my writing for a while and I needed a boost up as this. Thanks Kristen. And I hope your Ma recovers soon. Cheers.

  61. I’m not as organized as you are but this really, really hit me where I live : “But this can’t be a way of life. It would be like trying to sprint a marathon.” Thanks for a great post telling us how it is, and making us laugh. I hope your Mother recovers quickly and is back to her old self asap!

  62. Your posts are always an inspiration to me Kristen. You talk such common sense, you’re a mum like most of us who write, juggle, commit, waver, and struggle. Nice to know we’re not alone.

    I think you realise how lucky you are to have your mum, and that great relationship you have with her. You’re both amazing women, and I sent her my best wishes for a full recovery.

  63. I’m a new reader of your blog, but as usual, so much of that resonated with me. Wishing your mum a speedy recovery. Hope she’s back to her comedic best soon xx

  64. Your blog inspires me in more ways than one… especially when I run out of motivation while penning down my thoughts… It is a delight to read you, Kristen Lamb.. Your posts are gripping… particularly those that motivate first time writers…

    Wishing your mother a speedy speedy recovery!

    • PJ Ryley on June 7, 2013 at 8:43 am
    • Reply

    Amen, sister! I think once you have kids you are tested about priorities in a way that you never were before. And I wasn’t even writing back then! It is a constant juggling act, but you are right. It is a marathon. And our words won’t love us back in the end.
    Your mother sounds like a gem and you rightly treasure her. Praying for a speedy recovery and grace for all of you.

  65. Stumbled upon your site and love your style. I am sending best wishes for your mother’s speedy recovery. You really hit the nail on the head…thanks for the inspiration.

    • Cindy Watson on June 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm
    • Reply

    Balance – so simple and yet so tricky. As women, we’ve made some great leaps forward in the last century, but in many ways we’ve taken huge steps back. Now we are expected to be supermoms, super-careerwomen, super everything to everyone (except, sometimes, ourselves).
    All the best to your mom.

  66. Whenever Dinosaur takes on Bedtime, Bedtime always wins.

    1. I love that book. Just got him Dinosaur vs. The Potty.

  67. Reblogged this on DV Berkom Books.

  68. My thoughts and prayers for your mom, Kristen. And for you!
    I know we always leave ourselves for last. Now that I have an empty nest, I’m having trouble prioritizing. Not used to being first! I should blog about that. 🙂

  69. Great advice. I hope your mother fares well with her surgery and recovery.

  70. I’ve been thinking of you and your mom so much and sending prayers and wishes for all the best. Thank you for your “entropy is real” reminder. For so many years, I denied that reality, and all I did was struggle, and that’s not the way to go. As usual, your advice is spot on!

  71. I love my mom so… salute to your hard work in taking care of yours. Hope she gets well soon.

  72. I love your blog! You always give sound advice. I hope your mom’s surgery goes well and she recovers swiftly. Glad to see your priorities reflect real life and love. Still it always is a balancing act, isn’t it?

  73. What a timely and appropriate blog this was for me. I have considered blogging a similar one as your life sounds so like mine in trying to find time for everything and not let either the family or the writing/editing go by the wayside. This is definitely worth a reblog.

    By the way: We’re happy to nominate your blog for a Shine On Award. The details are here. In a way I should say “sorry” for this as I now realize how much work and time it entails to pass it on. But your blog is definitely one that shines on. Thanks.

    written by Gayle Moore-Morrans for Ian and Gayle

  74. Reblogged this on Ian Moore-Morrans, Scottish Canadian Author and commented:
    We’re pleased to reblog this item about discernment from Kristen Lamb. I’ve just made the following comments to her blog: What a timely and appropriate blog this was for me. I have considered blogging a similar one as your life sounds so like mine in trying to find time for everything and not let either the family or the writing/editing go by the wayside. This is definitely worth a reblog. Gayle Moore-Morrans

  75. I really like this post. Balance is so important & so hard to do.

  76. May the Lord bless you both, and all your family. A sense of humour fills our lives with sunshine.

  77. It’s freaky that this post came at just the right time for me.

    Last week I went nuts trying to maintain my business, be a good wife/sister/daughter/neighbor and keep my house somewhat in order (cannot focus in disorder). At the same time I am trying to revise my novel, but never seem to find the time (get very cranky when away from my book too long).

    In an attempt to be everything to everyone, I drank too much coffee to wake-up, too much wine to wind down, couldn’t sleep, had a mild nervous breakdown when my dog got sick. I ended up too exhausted and eye-twitchingly crazed to accomplish anything. Lesson learned.

    Must remember (love this!) “Making our writing a priority is vital, but it won’t fulfill us if it comes at the expense of our relationships, our health, and our peace.”

    Thanks so much, Kristen.

    • Rose on June 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm
    • Reply

    Trying to run a household and write; a big challenge. I bet this is something most male writers don’t struggle with! Writing is a consuming thing and will take up all the available space given. On the other hand, I once heard that I needed to give myself Permission to write, which means the other stuff gets ignored. It was actually quite freeing. Oh well, imperfection as you say, at least when it comes to the less important stuff. Thank you for this Kristen.

  78. Kristen-
    I hope everything turns out well for your mother.
    I really enjoyed this post. I’m a notorious procrastinator and am inherently lazy. As such, I’ve had to develop strategies to overcome this. For example, during my scheduled writing time, I will usually go to either the library or my office at work after hours. This (usually) allows me to stay awake and not decide to watch a little TV when I need a little break. I also struggle to effectively write when my house is a mess. I learned a long time ago that if I clean up before I start to write, I’m much more productive.
    It’s a never ending battle to successfully prioritize things in life and I often wonder if I made the right decision.
    Thanks for the wisdom. Keep it coming Kristen.

    1. It’s funny. I feel the same with stuff being messy, but I’ve heard the advice “forget the mess and WRITE!” so many times that it’s making me crazy x) Sometimes being a writer can feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Simply choosing whether or not to clean up can leave me paralyzed. (Wow, I’d make a boring character.)

  79. Wonderful post. Discernment is a skill anybody should hone and too few do. *Raises hand, sighing* Guilty.

  80. Btw this is the reason you’ve had a bunch of guest blogs, right? That only strengthens what you said about WANAS standing together 🙂 I hope your mother gets well!!

  81. I hope Your mum has recovered well.

    That I found this blog write now in my life is quite special, This is exactly what I need to hear/read. I have huge problems with getting my priorities right and finding time to switch off and rest. I quite often find I push my writing to the bottom of my list and sometimes go a week or more without sitting down and doing something that brings me so much joy.

    I am actually going to make a list of the things that are important to me and re-work my list of priorities to mirror it. Hopefully I will see the day job move down the list a little!

    Thank you for the serendipitous blog Kristen 😀

  82. The biggest boost to my discernment was figuring out when I am the most productive with each task I have, or want, to do, particularly writing. I am at my most creative early in the morning before work and before other responsibilities drain all creativity away. I realized getting up early and spending a couple of hours writing before going to work would accomplish more than trying to do a marathon some other time.

    I get up between 4:00 and 4:30 in the morning, write for two hours and still have time to exercise, shower and be at work by 8:00 am. The rest of the day is spent with other things, especially family and reading. I must read a minimum of a half hour every day, preferably more. So, the TV stays off except for movie time with the family, which of course is another way of becoming involved in a story. This has added years to my writing schedule – productive years.

    Of course not everyone is creative at that time of day. My sister says she doesn’t even wake up until 7pm. That is her most productive time period. So, she does the reverse, staying up later and sleeping in later. The point is finding that schedule offering the most benefit. Your plan sounds productive and efficient for you as well. As you have said the key word is determination, persistence, discernment and maybe a touch of crazy to want to meld it all together. Which of course makes for a superb storyteller…

  1. […] Traits of the Successful Author – Discernment by Kristen Lamb. Wisdom! Much Wisdom! […]

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  3. […] my eye has been caught by several blog posts dealing with creators and self-discipline. Authors and discernment. Artists and courage. I also happened upon an old magazine article dealing with how to order your […]

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