Don't Freeze Your Family—Physics PROVES Why We Writers Need to Lighten UP

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Many of us are running around like a one-legged man at an @$$-kicking contest. Writers juggle a lot of things at the same time—day jobs, family, laundry, dishes, finances, family, sickness, loss, and THEN there is the actual WRITING. I’ve come to understand that most of us writers live in two opposing states of being:

The State of I SO ROCK Narcissism and The State of I Don’t Deserve to LIVE, What the Hell Was I THINKING?

We write a few pages and think: “OMG, this is AWESOME.”

Next Day: I suck *hangs head*. Where is that brochure for dental hygienist school?

We revise and revise trying to make our work perfect. Whether it’s a book, parenting, or doing bills many of us hold ourselves up to impossible standards. We just about get the house clean and then…the family comes home. Just finish the dishes and…time to start dinner. AHHHHGGGGGG!

We wonder if it’s illegal to cryogenically freeze our spouse, kids and pets so we could have JUST ONE DAY that everything stayed CLEAN. Can we stop time and bask in loving what we just wrote? Didn’t we just DO laundry? Is that ketchup stain we ignored in the refrigerator trying to open a portal to a demonic realm? O_o



As a recovering perfectionist, I’m here to “scientifically” prove why we all need to lighten the hell up. How am I going to do this? Using tinfoil, swizzle sticks, glitter and the Three Four? Laws of Thermodynamics. And every reader who is a real scientist can just chillax.

This is “science.” Don’t argue.

(All “actual” laws contributed via Wikipedia)

Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics

If two systems are in thermal equilibrium with a third system, they must be in thermal equilibrium with each other. This law helps define the notion of temperature.

Zeroth Law means that temperature/energy will always seek a way to equal out. Two hot bodies (steaming EPIC tamales) placed next to ICE COLD margarita long enough? Margarita will suck heat and cool off tamales….leaving tamales too tired to finish revisions.

Life Application: This is empirical “proof” that yes, we parents were correct. Toddlers do drain energy. This also “proves” that children, as they get bigger, drain even MORE energy. Think how fast a 98 oz. margarita would chill your tamales (being “Tamale Mom” and “Tamale Dad”) and this explains why teenagers drain energy faster…unless the 98 oz margarita  teenager wants to date or wear too much makeup and that will temporarily heat the tamales parents.

The Spawn and his minion Lazr Cat.

The Spawn and his minion Lazr Cat.

Also, the hotter the WIP and the tougher the editor, the more we the writer will want a margarita. Told you! SCIENCE 😀 .

But don’t get too excited, there are three more “laws.”

The First Law of Thermodynamics

Because energy is conserved, the internal energy of a system changes as heat flows in or out of it. Equivalently, machines that violate the first law (perpetual motion machines) are impossible. Heat is the flow of thermal energy from one object to another.

Did you catch that? Okay, so maybe it was the only part of this I understood. Perpetual motion machines are IMPOSSIBLE. Gee, I wish I would have learned this last Thursday. Okay, Thursday of somewhere in 1992. We can’t do it all. Heat is synonymous with energy and as we expend energy, we um—Aw crap, hold on *finds Thesaurus function for another word for “expends”*—oh, there it is. WE LOSE IT. WE LOSE ENERGY and cannot run on Red Bull forever.


Life Application: Apparently, despite what the world wants to tell us, we are incapable of doing everything forever. Yes, there are gizmos, gadgets and apps that “promise” us we can have six-pack abs, a refrigerator that doesn’t make us shriek little a little girl when we reach into the vegetable drawer, and write a perfect book in two weeks. But physics proves they are LYING.

Next time someone complains you are taking a nap, tell them physics has proven you need one.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

The entropy of any isolated system cannot decrease. Such systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium — the state of maximum entropy of the system. Equivalently, machines that violate the second law (perpetual motion machines) are impossible.

In English? Everything is hurdling toward chaos. If you have kids, a closet, a heartbeat, you have a lot of experience with entropy. It’s impossible to isolate any system. I’ve tried! Banning the toddler from walking across my freshly mopped floor only attracts a cat to puke on freshly mopped floor.

This means….we need to just suck it up and expect some imperfection.

Life Application: This also goes for our art/craft. It is called a creative PROCESS. Sure, we can write the “perfect book”….if we are stranded on a desert island and somehow found a way to power up our computers using coconuts (Heck, they did that on Gilligan’s Island). The problem is that this perfect book is likely something we want to sell and make a living off of. Which—DANG IT—requires other people part money and time to buy it and read it and love it.

Problem is, readers can’t be sealed away (legally—I know, I checked) and thus tastes, preferences, ideas, passions are ever-shifting.

My advice? Give up on a perfect book and settle for a finished one. Finished books DO exist, perfect ones do NOT.

Also, again, notice the reiteration that a perpetual motion machine is impossible because it violates this Second Law. So take that nap. You’ll thank me later.

Third Law of Thermodynamics

The entropy of any pure substance in thermodynamic equilibrium approaches zero as the temperature approaches zero. The entropy of a system at absolute zero is typically zero, and in all cases is determined only by the number of different ground states it has.

We can never cool anything to the true point of Absolute Zero (no energy), only get close enough for government work.

Life Application: Do NOT freeze your family. I triple-checked and yes, it IS illegal and your house will still be a mess so it isn’t worth the legal bill.

Freeze some ice cream or a daiquiri instead.

Don’t y’all feel smarter already? I really wish I’d paid more attention in high school.

As we all collectively learn to give ourselves a bit of slack, we can know that science has our backs (unless you are Pluto and then you got screwed). Enjoy your family, your writing, your friends and life and just roll with it. Embrace the imperfections and laugh. Laughter increases energy and warms up the “bodies” around you, staving off entropy for at least a little bit 😉 .

Throw a PARTY!

Speaking of a lot of energetic bodies together in ONE space, I am finishing this post out to invite ALL of you to come and celebrate my 40th birthday with me this Sunday (even though my birthday was a week ago, but entropy tried to kill me so the party was moved).

It is a virtual party in one of our WANA International classrooms, and, if the WANACon after-parties are any indication of how fun this will be?

We might very well break the Internet.

But most of the people I love and care about are on-line. Since kidnapping air-fare for people all over the world is more expensive than the legal bills after freezing one’s family, my attorney has advised me that a virtual birthday party is the best option.

THIS SUNDAY, APRIL 6th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Central Standard Time (or 7-9 NYC time) we are having an 80s themed party. So bring your sky-high bangs, and favorite A-Ha videos. Also, for the moms who have accidentally worn their bra on the outside of their clothes, remember, Madonna did it, so now you are “fashionable.”

To attend this party, go to the WANA International home page at the time of the party (we will open the room 15 minutes early for those who wish to spike the digital punch). Off to the right, you will see the WORDS Big Blue Button. There is a selector. Choose the room named “Birthday Party” and the password is “Big80s”.


What are your thoughts? Feel better now that physics has “proven” you can relax a little? Do you find yourself swinging between GOD-LIKE CONFIDENCE and wondering why you wanted to write?

What are some of your favorite 80s memories? Songs? Fashions? I always wanted a SWATCH, but we were too poor. Favorite 80s movie? Best love songs of the 80s?

Are you an 80s kid and wonder how the heck you SURVIVED? We drank out of hoses, played on playgrounds made of INDUSTRIAL STEEL, and streetlights were our curfew. How any of you are even around to attend my party is frankly…amazing. And if no one shows, I will assume you likely died in a Slip-and-Slide accident when you were eight.

Will announce winner for March next post.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of APRIL, 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. 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 novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

For a LONG-TERM plan for a fit, healthy platform, please check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World.









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  1. Ah, I love this. I have never been quick with science but happened to have given birth to a child who is planning to be a theoretical physicist when he grows up (he’s 9 now), Over the past year? I have watched every science documentary out there and do now know what these laws of thermodynamics actually mean. Never learned in school. I do love your message. I just took a part time consulting job, along with trying to write, and parent, and generally keep myself happy, it has been a struggle. I had a little breakdown a few weeks ago wondering if spreading myself too thin will only make me do things “ok” and never great, ever again…. I guess even if that’s the case, you are saying I’m doing ok?! That makes me happy –just need to teach myself to believe it. Anyway ,happy 40th birthday!!!

  2. I was a product of the 70s who found herself living in the middle of nowhere during the 80s (there was a government installed plaque on a pedestal in my living room). Still, I dearly loved the music (Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Bangles, Pat Benatar). Musically, women really came into their own in the 80s. Of course, I’ll never forget when Michael Jackson danced on the lighted sidewalk in “Billie Jean.” Yeah, the decade of videos. If you saw my apartment right now you’d know I’ve learned to lighten up. Yikes.

  3. my 15-year old daughter wrote the sweetest note at the bottom of my white-board-that-looked-like-a-murder-site after I finished plotting a thriller I now have with a Major Editor and hope to Snag an Agent with:
    “Never give up. You are the strongest person I know.”
    I took a picture and sometimes look at it to remind myself that we all are here in support of each other, ultimately. My time, as a 48-year old mom of 3 with just one left in the nest a couple more years, is slowly coming. Time to devote to me. And while I still want to gouge out my spouse’s eyeballs when he quips “well, you know, when you write that best seller….” I know he has my back. As I have his.
    An as a full on child of the 80’s (HS class of ’85, college of ’89) I can say with all confidence that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the best movie ever made and that my swatch STILL WORKS!
    thanks again for this Kristen…oh, and btw it’s comforting to know that someone else refers to the fruit of their loins as “spawn.” (I sometimes call mine Wenchlings—but the boy spawn balked at that). cheers

  4. Ha-ha-ha. Thank you for your post. It made me laugh, but it’s also true. Pefection doesn’t exist, and if it did, it would be plain boring. So let’s just settle for doing what we can and spreading the love (heat) around! And happy belated birthday Kristen!

  5. I love you. You make me laugh. I’m on a four-day vacation and I was starting to feel guilty about not writing anything but silly blog posts and Facebook status updates. Thank you for shooting that nasty demon in the head with the laws of physics.
    I put your party on my calendar. I’ll be there if time and technology don’t conspire against me.

  6. So true. Thanks for this. And the 80’s. Wow. So many choices, but I just remember the close relationship I had with my curling iron and hairspray. I am still paying the price for all that…

  7. I hear what you’re saying, but my overachieving self hasn’t quite accepted it yet. I can’t slow. If I do, I won’t want to get back up to speed. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea… Someday my body will force me to slow down.

  8. HAHAHAHAHA! :Loved the science analogy! Great advice as always. And I’m totally coming to your party wearing my Def Leppard concert shirt 😀

  9. Reblogged this on Dr. Shay West and commented:
    Kristen Lamb talks about why it’s impossible to be perfect and do it all (and the legal ramifications of trying to get rid of your distracting family LOL)

  10. I so needed this post today. Thank you. I will refrain from freezing the family unit. Chocolate is better anyway.

  11. wow… really needed this today. Thanks! Still working on accepting all of it, but we’ll get there.

  12. Ah, I needed this today. Thank you!!! I don’t know much about science, but I do appreciate the funny. 🙂

  13. That 80s awareness video is the greatest thing I have ever seen!

  14. I just put something up on FB yesterday saying Valley Girl was one of favorite 80s movies. I remember thinking Nick Cage was so sexy, gap toothed and all!

  15. This was awesome. I now have the second law of physics to back up my need to take a nap. Thank you so much!

  16. Happy birthday, Kristen! You’re a sprin chicken – you still have some catching up to do!
    And since there will be a-ha, I’ll definitely try to make your party, so thanks for the invite.

    • Lisanne Cooper on April 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm
    • Reply

    You NAILED IT!! As usual. Just what I needed to hear. As usual. Loving the 80’s theme, too. Hope to see you there!

  17. Bingo! I love this, especially the one about the “evil plan.” 😀

  18. A virtual birthday party! 40 is a mile-stone birthday. Happy 40th, Kristen. The 40s rock. Enjoy every minute. The online party is a great idea. I’ll be a bit late, but I don’t want to miss it.

    Such a funny post, filled with so much we can all relate to. This is my favorite line: “Many of us are running around like a one-legged man at an @$$-kicking contest.” Hahaha! Great photos of The Spawn!

    The ’80s, geez, it’s hard to remember the fashions. I had all four of my babies in the ’80s – 1980, ’81, 85, and ’89, so I was busy with little ones, working, getting them off to the babysitter and then to school on time. I have lots of fuzzy memories of that decade. Glad big hair is no longer in style. My hair refuses to be big. It’s flat, flat, flat, just like my bust when I was thin!

    Fun post. Made me laugh. We all need that!

  19. I’m terrible at science so I appreciate your translations. Great post, my hubby probably needs to read it more than me 😉 See you at the party!

  20. Entropy tries to kill me all the time. Everyday. I’m a child of the ’80s–I hear the music and watch the video play in my head. MTV was all about the music back then.

    Also, LOL meant “Lots of Love” on the notes we wrote our friends in school.

    I’m going to try to make it to your party. It sounds like a great time.

  21. Wonderful to see Kevin Bacon, he’s done such amazing work as an actor as well as helping others with Six Footloose was such a big hit in my school, along with Rambo, Rocky, and Molly Ringwald, lol. Yes, I remember coming home by the streetlights. It’s amazing that our parents felt so safe back then when today we worry if our kids are a few minutes late.

  22. You’re blogging proof that breaking the 300-to-500-word “rule” is OK as long as the content is engaging and empathetic. Happy Entry into what will surely be a marvelous decade for you and thanks for reminding everyone that finishing a book, an article, a sentence, is in and of itself something to celebrate.

  23. Thank you for the invite and congratulations. Alas I will have to decline because I’ll be on the road that day. However, I hope your 40th goes better than mine, which went like this…

    What would you like for your 40th Birthday MT?
    Oh I’ll have an emergency c section please.
    Coming right up.

    Yes, that’s what I got for my 40th Birthday. My son. So while I can say I did a lot of drugs, it wasn’t exactly recreational. I hope your day is full of similar wonder and general loveliness but with more alcohol and less surgery. Phnark.

    Have a good one.



  24. Ha! I took a rare nap today! Who knew I was obeying the laws of Thermodynamics. 😀 And here I was thinking it was because Five Guys cross-contaminated gluten into my lunch last Saturday. 😉 Maybe a bit of both…

    Happy birthday Kristen! I’ll be at your party because I survived drinking from a hose, though I forgot to let the water run for a bit first and so promptly threw up. I’ll be there with my copies of the Back to the Future trilogy and The Breakfast Club. 😀

  25. I studied physics at university but reading the science-y bits looked like ‘thermo…blah..blah…entropy…blah…blah…take a nap (I got that last bit). This is what three children and too much housework can do to you. Okay, three children and housework; by the state of my house no one is going to support my claim of having done too much housework or even enough housework, possibly even any housework.

    The 80’s – shudder. Please don’t make me go back there. Unless you lock me in a cinema with 80’s movies playing – that I can cope with. Mm. Princess Bride or When Harry Met Sally? Indy? Marty? Han? Too many to pick a favourite.

    Great post – laugh out loud funny! Now, can you write one related to Chaos Theory? THAT I understand…

  26. I particularly enjoy the law of science that says I should go have a margarita now… I like getting my education off you :p

    1. I should be a TEACHER. Here is a link to my prepaid BAIL….

  27. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

  28. Another fabulous and funny post. And this: “The State of I SO ROCK Narcissism and The State of I Don’t Deserve to LIVE, What the Hell Was I THINKING?” Yes, yes, and again, yes.

  29. Everything I previously knew about the laws of thermodynamics I learned from Flanders and Swann’s song “First and Second Law”. (“Heat is work and work’s a curse…” – got it stuck in my head now!)
    In accordance with your instructions, I have refrained from freezing my family and have instead frozen some chocolate-mousse-yoghurt-gloop. History shall relate to succeeding generations whether this proved to be a good idea.

  30. Reblogged this on Amos M. Carpenter and commented:
    Another wonderful – nay, perfect (she’s a self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist, so this should mess with her head a bit) – post full of humour and truth from Kristen Lamb, with irrefutable scientific proof (“it’s science, don’t argue” – which, as a father of three, i.e. a fellow scientist, can confirm as 100% accurate) that we writers need to chillax.

  31. “Give up on a perfect book and settle for a finished one.” I need to remind myself of this often.

  32. It’ hard not to be nostalgic about the 80s. I was in elementary school and my favourite albums were: Whitney Houston’s “Whitney”, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” 🙂

    I’m pretty sure there will never be a time that I don’t want to hear these albums. All hail the 80s! (And Kevin Bacon.)

  33. All I can say is … “HOORAY TO YOUR POST” – 80’s ??? — Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love, Didn’t Mean to Turn You On, Simply Irresistible. Not to mention Styx & Wang Chung — Miami Vice, Magnum PI, A Team — Personal: Hair too darn long — Lastly: Life not as stressful. — Take care & Wish you all the best 24/7.

  34. What a great post, it made me chuckle so much! But you had some really good points. Sometimes it’s best to just step back and relax and not worry so much about everything! 🙂

  35. My new motto is “if you need ten, take them.”
    Ten minutes of absolute silence and NOTHING is an incredible energy booster. Just turn off all electronics and sit in a comfortable position and DON’T MOVE.
    Even if the toddler crawls unto your back and starts banging your head with a bowl it shouldn’t be able to get because its spot is on the top shelf …

  36. LOL! Fantastic post, Kristen 🙂 I grew up in the 80s, I had roller skates with luminous yellow and pink wheels and wore a LOT of denim on denim lol. I tried getting my hair curled (too young for a proper perm), but my hair is way too fine and the curls dropped right out so my big brother, who was massively into The Cure, crimped my hair instead without our mum knowing (I was 6). I would love to attend your party, but alas, the time difference means it will be silly o’clock in the morning in the UK, so I will be doing some of that much needed sleeping. Happy birthday though! Have a good one 🙂 x

  37. I like that physics tells me I need to take more naps, with which I thoroughly agree. Too bad 6 year olds don’t understand physics!

  38. So many great quotes in here, especially these two:
    “Next time someone complains you are taking a nap, tell them physics has proven you need one.”
    “Give up on a perfect book and settle for a finished one. Finished books DO exist, perfect ones do NOT.”

    Note to self…

  39. Laugh. Out. Loud. I related to so much of this. Thanks for permission to let a few things go and focus on the important stuff!

    As to the 80s, I’m in love with so much of it. I even have a quiz for Are You a Child of the 80s? I do have my eye on the perfect gift for your birthday. It’s small, furry, and only comes with three important rules to remember. I’m sure Spawn can follow a few rules, right? 😉

  40. OMG I love reading your posts. You always make me laugh. I admit I am a perfectionist, so it is nice to know that science has my back and I don’t have to do it all. Someone needs to tell my kids that though. Loved the 80’s. Big hair, John Stamos and leg warmers…lol Happy Birthday!

  41. Reblogged this on Cynthia Stacey and commented:
    Ausome post by Author Kristen Lamb. Physics rocks!

  42. Incredible post 🙂

    Just recollected the law of thermodynamics long forgotten and found how to apply it in practical life 🙂

    I have quite a lot of fond memories of the 80’s and loved the video 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing it…

  43. Honestly, I write better if I have more to do. If there’s nothing better for me to be doing than writing, I find myself on Facebook or playing video games. But if there’s work to be done, something more important I should be doing, then I write really well. So I don’t mind the distractions. Although I’ll be interested to see how that changes when I have a child, since I don’t right now. I’m certain a child distraction will be very different from a work distraction…guess I’ll find out around November.
    Either way I do oscillate between “I am the BEST WRITER EVER ALL WILL WORSHIP ME!” and “I should burn this, and pretend like I never tried to write anything and live a quiet life under a rock where no one will know how much I suck at writing” very much so. Mostly I hang out on that latter end. I just haven’t found a suitable rock.
    As for your other questions – 90’s kid.

  44. I finished. 2 years and 2 months later I finished my first book. Now to publish. But first a margarita.

    • Sarah Brentyn on April 3, 2014 at 5:39 pm
    • Reply

    “The State of I SO ROCK Narcissism and The State of I Don’t Deserve to LIVE, What the Hell Was I THINKING?” I live in that second state, have a beach house in the first. Does that mean I’m a real writer? You’re like so totally righteous! Happy Birthday! Welcome to the decade of “when the hell did I get here?”

  45. Maybe the ketchup blob in my fridge is cosmically tuning in to the one in yours, in order to open that demonic gate… Have a fab birthday party 😀

  46. This was great and just the laugh I needed! 🙂

  47. We clearly “survived” the same time frame! Do you wanna come over and watch re-runs of Saved by the Bell and Love Boat with me? 🙂

  48. Kevin reminds me of a friend of mine.

    Are you guys this comical in real life too.

    🙂 dave

    SGD dave

    Owner/Admin: The Anomalous Sandbox (secure critique group) Contributor: The Anomaly (Author’s Discussion Forum)

  49. I’m a child of the 50’s, so I’m irrelevant. (Spent the 80’s pastoring an inner city street mission.)
    The fifties was when the Cold war was new enough that we still had atomic bomb drills in school.
    Yeah 🙂

  50. I must remember to quote these things the next time I start over working myself. (Likely tomorrow or the next day). This shall be reblogged as it is the best way for me to find it again. Oh! And a happy 40th Kristen!

  51. Reblogged this on remnantscc and commented:
    Slow down! You deserve it.

  1. […] Don’t Freeze Your Family—Physics PROVES Why We Writers Need to Lighten UP. […]

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