Oct 30 2011

Desert Hiatus

Melissa Crytzer Fry

It seems the creatures of the desert go on hiatus about this time of year. Tortoises no longer tuck themselves into their shells, rather they seek to tuck themselves beneath granitic or volcanic boulders in preparation for the winter months. Tarantulas burrow down into existing mole holes. Rattlesnakes occupy deserted gopher and squirrel tunnels. Giant Sonoran desert toads dig deep into the soil and hide away until the next monsoon season.

This baby desert tortoise showed up in July for hubby's birthday. Just a few short months later, he was seeking shelter for his winter hiatus. Click to enlarge.

You already know of my spider affinity from my last post. But let's just say that the tarantulas that roam our ranch hold an extra special place in my heart. Haven't seen one since the weather cooled in the evenings. Click to enlarge.

So, with all the desert critter withdrawal going on around me, I figured it might be a good time for me to disappear as well. This is tough for me, but something I feel I need to do so that I can make additional progress on my novel. Yes, despite the withdrawal I will surely suffer from not being on Twitter or visiting my favorite blogs for two weeks – or blogging, myself – I must do this.

This rattler didn't need to slither into a hole to hide; his camouflage did the trick. We found him under an old board near our construction site. Click to enlarge.

I must carve out uninterrupted Work-in-Progress time so that I can advance my 50K words, taking them to the finish line. What will two weeks bring me (provided no new freelance projects emerge)? I honestly don’t know. But it will definitely be a step or two closer to ‘done.’

This is actually a juvenile owl, photographed behind my house. Inquisitive little guy! Click to enlarge.

Who Gives a Hoot? I know you could probably give two hoots about my writing routine, but by publicly announcing this goal, I feel accountable. Some of you may want to know if, at the end of my mini-writing sabbatical, I’ve produced the goods. Imagine my shame if I didn’t deliver.

Thank you to Amanda Hoving, whose post first planted the seed that it is, indeed, okay to step away – and to Patrick Ross, whose ‘unplugged’ blog post added more fuel to the fire. Julia Munroe MartinNina BadzinCynthia Roberston and Natalia Sylvester all posted thought-provoking blogs about the importance of prioritizing writing, blogging and social media – as well as just how much time we need to write well (click their names above to read their fabulous posts). And I cannot forget Stephanie Alexander, who once reminded me, “We are not professional bloggers or Tweeters. We are writers.” Lisa Killian also played a role in assuring me that the creative surge will be well worth the time away.

As the sun sets on the horizon beyond one of the hills on our property, I wish happy writing to all. See you back in the Twittersverse Nov. 15 and here probably Nov. 21.

Note: If you see me on Twitter or responding to this post Mon., Oct. 31, I’m not cheating. My official first day of hiatus begins Tuesday, Nov. 1. Will get back to everyone after my sabbatical.


36 Responses to “Desert Hiatus”

  • avatar Julia Munroe Martin Says:

    I GIVE A HOOT, okay??? But I understand even though I’ll miss you on Twitter & the blog circuit, and I really should be doing the exact same thing. The novel trumps all. You CRACK THAT WIP! And NO shame allowed. It’s all good! xoxo Julia (p.s. the photos are superb! absolutely love the owl & the sunset. How big is the baby tortoise?)

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    Melissa Reply:

    Baby tortoise is about the size of a cereal bowl! Thank you so much for your support and YOUR inspiration when you ‘unplugged’ a month or so ago.

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  • avatar Shary Says:

    Hibernating to write is a good thing. Thanks for the reminder that writing comes first… blogging and social media are extras. I’ll miss your beautiful photos, but you’ve shared so many that I’ll be able to look back at previous posts and be inspired.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I don’t get it. Intellectually, I “know” that blogging and social media are ‘extras,’ but they’ve taken priority over the past year, somehow. So it’s time for me to buck up!

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  • avatar Jessica McCann (@JMcCannWriter) Says:

    This is awesome! Know that many, many of us give a hoot (a whole lot of hoots) and you will be missed. But these opportunities must be seized and enjoyed. So write like the wind, girl. And we WILL expect a full report when you return (no pressure!).

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    Melissa Reply:

    Awww, thanks, Jessica. Your support means so much! I hope that I CAN write like the wind :-). A full report will be forthcoming. Promise.

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  • avatar Christine Grote Says:

    Good for you for keeping your priorities straight. We’ll be here when you get back. (Unless we decide to take a break too. Sounds like heaven.)

    I, for one, will be looking for a full report.

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  • avatar Liz @ Creative Liberty Says:

    Good luck! Intentional sabbaticals are FAR less worrisome than great blogs that mysteriously go silent! But your posts and tweets (and retweets!) will be missed!

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  • avatar Sue Mitchell Says:

    I took *7 months* off from my blog and whaddaya know, I had more readers when I returned than when I’d left! And I definitely feel a new enthusiasm for it. When you need a Lull, you need a Lull. It’s a creative tool. Glad you’re using it!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Wow, Sue… That’s incredible! You are inspiring me, to be certain – 7 mos. off and MORE readers upon your return PLUS a renewed spark! Thanks so much for your support!

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  • avatar Nina Says:

    I 1000% support this, Melissa! And I can’t wait to hear about how it went. We will ALL be here when you return. I think a good blogging “relationship” and tweeting one means we can float in and out. It need not be constant or 100% tit for tat.

    Hope the time is productive AND enjoyable. Nina 🙂

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    Melissa Reply:

    Thank you for your enthusiasm, Nina. And when I return, I will learn of baby no. 4’s arrival, I presume? (So sorry to miss that). I agree with you that good blogging and Twitter relationships should mean that we can float in and out when needed.

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  • avatar Stephanie Alexander Says:

    Don’t leave us!!

    No, but seriously, I think you’re doing the right thing! I’ve been trying to prioritize myself. Will miss you– and you can always DM me if you need me! 🙂

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    Melissa Reply:

    I just may need to take you up on the DM offer if I start to feel too neurotic and closed off from other writers :-). Thanks, girl.

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  • avatar K Says:

    Hey there, busy girl. I am glad to hear you are taking a break with all you juggle in you life. You notifying your audience about the break is very courteous and I will be looking for your fascinating blog in a couple of weeks. The photos are once again top notch and the information you provide is so educational!

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  • avatar Linda Anselmi Says:

    Melissa –

    Enjoy your hiatus — with an emphasis on Joy. Don’t worry about producing tangible results to show anyone. Yourself included. Navel gazing is truly some of the most productive work of a creative mind.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Oh, Linda, your message was JUST what I needed to hear. THANK YOU for that gift. Indeed, navel-gazing IS part of the creative writing process, and even when no words make it on to paper, other progress is made in the mind re: plotting, endings, characters! You are helping me start off on the right foot!

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  • avatar Mahesh Raj Mohan Says:

    Have a great time working on your WIP! I’ll look forward to the post on your progress (go you!), and will just have to send bad puns to myself in the interim, 😉

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  • avatar Patrick Ross Says:

    Melissa, I agree with Jessica that this is awesome. I’m very happy for you as you embrace your creative writing, and we’ll be here when you return. Well, I give myself permission not to be there exactly when you return, because since that blog post I wrote that played a role in giving you permission to do this, I’ve taken brief (but largely unannounced) sabbaticals from Twitter and a bit from my blog, most recently a couple of weeks ago as I finished an MFA packet. Congratulations on honoring your muse.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I, too, give you permission to NOT be here upon my return. I LOVE what you’re doing and (obviously) have been quite inspired by it. If all goes well, I may schedule periodic breaks of this nature – and probably won’t announce them at that point. But for now, I felt I needed the accountability (How sad is THAT?). So if any of you see me on Twitter or blogs the next few weeks, scold the hell out of me!

    Congrats on getting that MFA packet done. Shelby tells me how grueling they are!

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  • avatar Erika Marks Says:

    You will be missed, but so proud of you for making this commitment! I can’t wait to hear all the news from the other side–and thank you for these pictures. All the wonder that lives around you–and to know you savor and treasure every bit of it is the best.
    Hugs to you!!!

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  • avatar Cynthia Robertson Says:

    We’ll still be here when you get back, Melissa. Glad you told us what you are doing…so we don’t worry…but beyond that, just go and write well, my dear! (((hugs)))

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  • avatar Jolina Petersheim Says:

    We will miss your cheerful Twitter presence and wonderful comments, girlie, but I completely understand about your need to “burrow.” I hope it is a wonderful time, and we will see you when you return! XXOO

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  • avatar Leah Says:

    I’ll be rooting for you. I may cut back in November too as I’m doing NaNoWriMo. Good luck to all of us!

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  • avatar Tom Honea Says:

    just saw that you will be gone for two weeks … we will miss you.
    enjoy. see you on or about mid-november !

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  • avatar Lori Parker Says:

    We are all rooting and hooting for you!! I think your decision is exactly right. You deserve some quiet time in your WIP universe. But we will miss you! Loads of hugs!! (Love the turtle!!!)

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  • avatar Natalia Sylvester Says:

    This is so great, Melissa! I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to hear how it goes two weeks from now. We’ll miss you, but we’re not going anywhere!

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  • avatar Tracy Mangold Says:

    Go for it! Yes indeed! WE ARE WRITERS! That’s such a comforting encouraging thought. Thank you for the reminder. We’ll miss you but we’ll be inspired that you are creating something wonderful!

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  • avatar Amanda Hoving Says:

    Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about your hiatus. You can see that I’ve had a bit of a relapse into mine…but no regrets. Be well!

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  • avatar Katie Shea Says:

    Wishing you the best of luck with your WIP! Hoping your social media sabbatical bring your work to the place you want it. I will miss your tweets!

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  • avatar Sara Grambusch Says:

    Good for you and I wish you much luck in these weeks!

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  • avatar Milliver's Travels Says:

    I adored all the photos in this post, but especially the owl and the baby tortoise. Turtles and tortoises are one of my favorite animals, and I had a pet called Terry the Tortoise as a kid back in Great Falls, Montana.

    I was impressed with the camouflage of the rattler. Really had to look hard to spot it.

    I think your plan to step away and focus on your writing is marvelous. I did something similar (just in a different order) so I could finish my second screenplay and I know you’ll be very happy you did it. I’m totally rooting for you and I hope you enjoy your immersion into your WIP. You deserve to do that for yourself. And I’m sure your blog readers and Twitter followers will be most supportive, especially since you give such great value when you are online.

    ~ Milli

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  • avatar Milliver's Travels Says:

    P.S. I was going to save this for your spider post, but since the tarantula picture is here, and since you say Tarantula holds a special place in your heart, I thought I’d come back and put this here.

    From the section on animal totems on Linsdomain.com:

    “Tarantulas (and all spiders) are the keepers of the primordial alphabet and can teach you how to write creatively. […] Those who weave magic with the written word usually have this totem.”

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  • avatar Abi Burlingham Says:

    Sometimes you need to shut yourself away and avoid the distractions – there are so many of them! I think it’s admirable that you are doing this and dedicating the time to writing – I hope the novel’s coming together for you. And I love the tortoise pic – so sweet!

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  • avatar Laurie J. Anderson Says:

    I especially enjoyed the beautiful photos and I do think they are so inspiring! Nature surrounds us with beauty just waiting to be captured, whether it’s with a camera or in a painting. As a watercolor artist of landscapes & nature, I can especially appreciate this. Thanks for sharing.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Oh to have the gift of an artful brushstroke! I am always amazed that there are people in this world that don’t find that wonder when being immersed in the outdoors. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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