Sandra Hamlett
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  • Writing: A Life

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  • Lynn Procton MacDonald
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  • Melissa Rheinlander
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Writing: A Life

Tracking Down the Elusive Muse

Inspiration is one of the greatest con's of creativity, especially for writers.

What's the number one question writers are asked at a reading- "Where do you get your ideas?" The idea being that one of the elusive goddesses appears out of the mist of creativity endowing a fortunate few with an elixir that keeps them prolific masters.

New writers often get caught up attempting to lure the Muse and it's no wonder when you read interviews with writers who treat writing as though it is a religion only entered into by those with  faith. For these writers words are supplied by the Muse and they are nothing but passive vessels. These are the writers who chant, burn incense, pray, meditate and treat writing as an ineffable act/

All of these rituals might work for the privileged few but for the rest of us the Muse is found in rolling up our proverbial sleeves and getting to work.

My Muse doesn't care that today I was writing on the damp chilly porch while the rain fell and I was buried under my daughter's electric blanket. My Muse doesn't care that I don't have a dedicated writing space anymore. I write wherever the mood and time hits me. If that means I'm typing out a paragraph or two during half-time at a soccer game then that's where she'll find me. The only thing my Muse cares about is whether I'm writing or not.

We've a simple relationship. If I don't write, she doesn't particularly give a damn about me. If I'm writing then she's there like my dedicated corner team in a boxing match or pit crew at the Indy 500.

The relationship between the idea and creativity only occurs from action. Not just any kind of action but consistent daily grinding away until art is created. It won't happen if you're plan is to wait for some fickle god of inspiration to sprinkle fairy dust on you to get you going. It won't happen tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow. It only happens in the now.

So I write, my Muse shows up. Tonight she's brought a glass of Pinot Grigio with her and has turned on the soccer game for me knowing the words flow with a good game in the background. If I'm lucky she'll send me off to sleep dreaming about the story and wake me up first thing in the morning with the first sentence of the day. But this can only happen if I keep my part of the bargain- keep writing.

Relaxing the Stressed-Out Brain

I never thought I could it. I tried it dozens of times to no avail. I would find myself in a quiet house, cross-legged at an un-godly time before dawn. I'd breathe in and out attempting to shut off my brain and the more I attempted to shut it down the louder the thoughts would intrude. I suddenly felt as though my brain was covered in adhesive and a wind storm had kicked up, every possible thought would stick as I flailed helplessly trying to swat them all away.

Meditation became a lesson in frustration, so I simply gave it up as a task beyond my feeble abilities.

Then one evening, I took my son to a soccer tryout on a chilly evening. I stayed in the warm car, crossed my legs, and began to slowly breathe in and out. Before I knew it I lapsed into a state of consciousness, I can only describe as hyper-awareness. Coming out of this state, I was relaxed and free of the stress and fear breathing down my neck for years.

After that evening, I found a meditation app for my iPad and I meditate at least twice a day. Instead of the blankness I had desired in my early attempts, now I seek to simply be. As thoughts enter my head, I allow them to pass through, accepting and releasing. The thoughts change but the breathing is constant, anchoring me to the present in a way I never took the time to appreciate.

Before meditation stress would hold me in a death grip and I sacrificed my peace of mind to it. Time poured out in a flood overwhelming me and I drowned in the endless turmoil. With meditation, my days are fluid and stretch out before me. I am productive. I am relaxed. I breathe in and out and I am here and now.

Miraculous New Diet

I've always been petite. I was always the annoying friend who could eat an entire pizza and down a nice healthy dessert and never gain weight.

Even after giving birth to two children, I still maintained my petite figure.

Then I began life with my then boyfriend and now husband and suddenly I began putting on a pesky pound or two here or there. After I gave birth to my youngest, I couldn't seem to shed my baby weight. I thought it was simply nature's cruel trick since I was of AMA (advanced maternal age- the crappy terminology for getting pregnant after 35).

But no, it wasn't nature.

It wasn't even my love of caramel lattes or the fact that as a mother I wound up eating my kid's leftovers.

Nor was it the fact that my running ranged from sporadic to non-existent for some months.

Weight crept on to my thin frame because cracks formed in my husband's emotional facade. The moodiness he blamed on his food sensitivities escalated. He gained weight. He was exhausted all the time. He was dissatisfied, he complained. He no longer smiled and my kids were uncomfortable when he was around.

I did what any one who loves their partner would do, I tried to make things better. The more I tried the more work there seemed to do. I completely lost myself to this emotional nightmare. I stopped writing, I stopped growing, I'd start projects and then stop them because I was juggling too many balls in the air trying to keep him happy and reminding him how blessed we were in our lives.

Weight piled on me until I was over 38 pounds overweight. I was in shock when I stepped on the scale. I tried everything to lose the weight- getting back into running, going to the gym, Weight Watchers, Paleo Diet, tracking every bite I ate... to no avail.

Then when my husband's careful disguise fell away to expose the raw emotionally distant and mental illness he'd been hiding, I realized I couldn't help him. He was beyond a pep talk, beyond love and support, beyond even therapy. If I continued trying to save him, I would lose myself.

So I stopped.

I let go and suddenly... the weight began to fall off. I started taking care of myself. I began running regularly. I started back to writing. I started enjoying my life again without the shadow of his mood swings. To date, I've lost over 22 pounds.

Today people who hadn't seen me since the spring were amazed by my transformation. I glow! There's a spring to my step. I smile a lot. I sing again. I laugh.

What's my secret? Living a life of awareness, letting go of fear, and handing someone's emotional baggage back to them to deal with. No matter how much you love someone only they can tackle their burden. Every person has to find their own peace.

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Latest Activity

Toni and Sandra Hamlett are now friends
Nov 17
Sandra Hamlett commented on Nicole Bouie's blog post 'Build a bridge and get the hell over it!'
"Wonderful post. Your words are so true. We were not designed to be delicate creatures is my new saying."
Apr 9, 2013
Sandra Hamlett posted a status
"What is everyone else up to on this gorgeous spring day? I'm back from an run and now writing."
Apr 9, 2013
Sandra Hamlett commented on Madison's group 'Goal: 500 Followers!'
"Hi I'm Sandra,. My blog is Please come by to visit and leave a post. You can also like my page on"
Apr 9, 2013
Sandra Hamlett posted a blog post

When Your Husband Is Dating Another Woman

When your husband is dating another woman, what is the etiquette? Are there special Hallmark card? Is there a ceremony or a special title? Maybe even a badge.No my husband and I are not separated nor are we living in separate residences. His mail still comes to this address and I still wash his clothes, fold it and put it away because as my daughter says, I'm too nice.Last year at this time, I thought his distance and his crankiness were just fall out from his tendency towards melancholy. When…See More
Apr 9, 2013
Toy Tasting commented on Sandra Hamlett's blog post 'Quote of the Week'
"Completely with you on this Sandra. All the best now for finding truly awesomeness now"
Jan 21, 2013
Sandra Hamlett posted a blog post

Quote of the Week

"Live your life like no one is watching." Sandra Hamlett This line popped into my head while meditating this morning. I'm not sure if I read it somewhere or if it is uniquely mine. I could use the positive reinforcement right now so I'm taking credit for it.After meditating I started writing about this during my morning pages. I wondered when I started paying attention to the eyes on me instead of living in…See More
Jan 20, 2013
Sandra Hamlett updated their profile
Jan 20, 2013

Profile Information

What is your blog name?
Writing: A Life
What is your blog URL?
Twitter URL
Share a little something about yourself with other moms.
I'm a writer and mother of three living in semi-rural Orange County New York. I have many interests like politics, gardening, running, knitting, reading, and cooking. I'm currently at work on my first novel and a collection of short stories about youth soccer in America.
What is your blogging philosophy?
To inspire!

My Three Wonders

Sandra Hamlett's Blog

When Your Husband Is Dating Another Woman

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 2:48pm 0 Comments

When your husband is dating another woman, what is the etiquette? Are there special Hallmark card? Is there a ceremony or a special title? Maybe even a badge.

No my husband and I are not separated nor are we living in separate residences. His mail still comes to this address and I still wash his clothes, fold it and put it away because as my daughter says, I'm too nice.

Last year at this time, I thought his distance and his crankiness were just fall out from his tendency…


Quote of the Week

Posted on January 20, 2013 at 8:44pm 1 Comment

"Live your life like no one is watching." Sandra Hamlett

dancing woman

This line popped into my head while meditating this morning. I'm not sure if I read it somewhere or if it is uniquely mine. I could use the positive reinforcement right now so I'm taking credit for it.

After meditating I started…


The Weight of My Weight

Posted on March 4, 2011 at 10:32am 0 Comments

I am struggling. I stepped on the scale and I definitely felt a seismic rumble as the digital numbers flashed up (oh horror) then back down (relief) and then back up again; two pounds since Sunday. I cannot plead ignorance, my husband's de facto position. His immediate response is to question the findings, "This, can’t be right. I don’t know how this could have happened", uttered with a righteous indignation that would fill any politician with pride.

No I do not do this. I know exactly… Continue

The Little Moments

Posted on January 29, 2011 at 1:11am 0 Comments

There are big moments in a parent's life. There are the firsts- first smile, first steps, first lost tooth. There are birthdays and graduations. There are photographs and video to commemorate these times. Hallmark has made a fortune from family milestones.

I enjoy the big moments but I live for the thousands of little moments... Like the one I'm having right now with my daughter, sitting on the couch watching re-runs of "The Office".

Everyone else is the house is sleeping… Continue

Having an "aah" Moment

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 11:56am 0 Comments

I should be bouncing for joy.

I should be performing cartwheels through the aisle of the study room.

I should be getting strange looks from people because my goofy grin falls to close to the line separating normal and abnormal.

Instead... I'm subdued on my first day with time to myself. From about 10AM to 2:30PM, I have no commitments on Tuesday and Friday. My emotions are cut short of full-blown joy as a mixture of guilt, anxiety, and stress coagulate my… Continue

Comment Wall (16 comments)

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At 1:01am on July 13, 2013, Lea said…

Work At Home Mom, WAHM, Mom Blogger

I am stopping by to say "hello" :)
I haven't been here in a while.
I welcome your friendship :)

Lea @ Mother Baby Child & Weight Loss Help

At 11:19pm on July 1, 2011, the third boob said…
we (chach + nellie) started a blog & would love for you to check us out and hopefully get a giggle & some answers to "why is this blog called the third boob"?! (
if you find the story amusing enough to follow us or tell people about we would be forever grateful.
At 7:56pm on December 18, 2010, Summer Munoz said…

Following your new blog : ) Looking forward to your post!


Keeping Up With The Rheinlander's

At 3:52pm on June 13, 2010, Cynthia Helwig-Putorti said…
Hi from The Girlz Korner in upstate New York. My blog offers light, witty articles on every topic imaginable and was created over a year ago. I truly designed my blog simply for the joy of sharing info. and never expected it to take off the way it has. I also never thought of adding a Followers section until now and because of all the awesome blogs listed here, I'd love to offer my readers the opportunity of connecting with you as well. So please ... come on over and see me some time. Hope you're enjoying your weekend .
At 1:33pm on September 6, 2009, Allie Markowitz said…
Hi Sandra,
My name is Allie Markowitz and i work for The Dr. Oz Show! We're premiering in a week and looking for stressed out moms who live in NY! Wondering if you would be interested in talking to me about your family and the hectic life we all lead?
My email is
I'd love to hear from you!

At 7:52pm on July 2, 2009, Petula Wright said…
Wow, it's been more than a year since we "met" and you started blogging. Can you believe it?
At 10:00am on May 16, 2009, Onica {MommyFactor} said…
hello! oh my your children are beautiful. Like you I'm not much of a stay at home type of mom. I'm always dragging my son outside on some adventure.
At 10:43pm on February 25, 2009, Ana said…
That's so cool that you are tapping back into your photography talent. It's an interest of mine, but i have no talent. Right now I'm going through the dilemna of trying to find the right camera to mess around with. Do you have any recommendation on a site to look that might rate camera. I'm so confused right now about the DSLR and all that stuff.
At 11:29am on February 25, 2009, Angel's hair said…
Hi sandra, I found this site through your blog! What a nice familly!
At 2:30pm on February 24, 2009, Ana said…
Hi Tara
I soooo meant to say "hello" the other day when I commented on your post! So, hi! Your children are gorgeous. I love your blog. Are you into photography because your picture are so nice?

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