The Words Crawl In.

Do you have a witching hour of the night? For me it’s between 3:00 and 4:00 am. That’s when my worst fears come to light.

That’s when I fear I’m losing, or I’ll lose, certain parts of myself that I’d rather hang onto.

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(Photo credit: Dan Shapiro of Aggressive)

Sometimes, I write my blog posts at 3:00 am.

I don’t mean that I physically write them, but that they come to me on those rare sleepless nights in which so much is on my mind that I’m wide awake and staring out the window. On Saturday night, it was overload. The book I co-authored, and all of my hopes and dreams for it and my writing career, a long lost family member coming back into the folds of our hearts and our lives, a short visit from my parents, a silent falling rain. What was most keeping me awake was my search for words to write.

I was in one of those panics I’m only ever in between the haunting hours of 3:00 & 4:00 am. I couldn’t remember the last time that the words came to me, stopped me in my tracks, and made me fumble for a pen and paper, my phone or my computer.

And so at 3:00 am, when I had my unwarranted fear of losing my words, I kept sing-songing that ghastly old “Worms crawl in, worms crawl out” song. Only I sang,

“The Words Crawl In,
The Words Crawl Out,
Into your stomach,
And out your mouth”

And then I drifted off to sleep, with the comfort that in my case, the words always crawl in (to my mind), and the words always crawl out (onto my computer or pen and paper). By the light of the day, I realized it had only been a week or two since I had been stopped by the words, and then forced to sit and jot them down. In truth, I just had already had too much to write about with the Renaissance Faire, the Ask Away Friday and the book release. I didn’t need the words to come my way last week.

They come when they are needed. And today they came.

What about you? Do you search for words, or do words search for you? For my whole life, I’ve let them come to me, and maybe had to coax them a bit only when I had a deadline. They always come, but sometimes they make me sweat first. Sometimes..


Over the summer after my birthday, I bought a new camera lens. It isn’t the $1,500 one I wanted but it’s wider and closer than anything I had, and I didn’t even have to sell a kidney to afford it. Generally in the past when I’ve gotten a new lens, (a whole one time so far) I’ve taken it on a maiden voyage and then posted about its debut. I’m a bit late in showing you my new lens’ debut, but here it is below. I had rigid standards for the new lens to live up to. Like, does it show friendship?

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And wonder? That’s a big one. Wonder.

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Does it show new and unique ways of living and loving? (The following were taken at a birthday party with a train rental)

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Does it show curiosity?

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And fun?

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And teamwork?

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And humor?

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And last but not least, does it show eyelashes? ‘Cause that’s how I got into this whole photography mess anyway. Eyelashes.

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Personally, I think the lens passed all of my rigorous tests. May we find a lot of joy together.

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About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


The Words Crawl In. — 107 Comments

  1. I don't get writing inspiration from 3-4AM but it's the time my mind races if I'm up. Problems seem worse to me and worries go on a rampage. Everything always seems fine in the morning, but I try NOT to think at that time of the day because it's anxiety provoking for me.

    Now, the time that words flow if I need inspiration or a good turn of a phrase…when I'm in the shower! No lie!

    Your new lens looks awesome! Something tells me it's all due to the talented photographer behind the lens, but it looks like a great partnership is underway! πŸ™‚ –Lisa

    • I know you know all about great partnerships. Things seems a lot worse at my witching hour, so I try to channel it into inspiration. And sometimes I get that from dreams, and sometimes from stress. Either way!

  2. I've been suffering from a bit of insomnia lately, waking up around 1 with a racing mind. Just can't stop the wheels turning! I get a lot of writing inspiration when I run. Then I try to rush home & get it all on paper! Love the pics, especially those lashes!!

    • It’s the book, isn’t it!? Well partly for me.

      I try to channel it into something. I say, “if you’re going to haunt me, thoughts, I’m going to get a blog post out of this. So there.”

  3. Seriously that new lens does justice and then some, but then again it is the photographer, who seriously takes the most awesome photos! And I have been awake since 5 am after having a horrible dream and just thinking a bit. So, yes I totally know sleepless nights sometimes and now it is Monday morning and wish I could go back to bed somehow, but no such luck for me! Just got to keep on moving, I suppose and the words will eventually come.

    • I really want to go back to bed. It's a rainy Monday morning. I did not snap at anyone today, though! That's actually a big deal.

      And thanks about the lens. Of course it's in the way that you use cameras and lenses. They're not magical on their own. Well, not the ones I can afford.

  4. Mostly I think I search for words, but I totally agree that they come when they are needed. I wonder if most bloggers feel this way…. suddenly, it comes! And those eyelashes are worth every penny for any lens… πŸ™‚

  5. I understand what you mean about the 3 – 4 AM witching hour. Sometimes I am wide awake thinking about all of the stuff I have to do and everything I keep putting off. I started keeping a notebook next to my bed so I can write things down if I can't sleep. It actually helps a little. Beautiful photos, as always!!!

  6. I've been having trouble with words lately – I'm not finding them very easily. I think I need to carve out time to write, and not let myself be distracted by other pressing matters. Maybe I'll head out with my camera and let inspiration find me.

    • I bet it will! That camera is might fine, if I do say so myself. It’s funny how many of us struggle but other people can’t always tell. Like, I couldn’t tell that you have had trouble with words lately! You won Kristi’s contest because of your way with words!

  7. Yes to all your questions! You know I don't get it! The lens just provided the other side of amazing in my eyes! They are all fabulous. I feel awkward answering your question because my writing is so different from yours. I do feel that I'm a writer, but you're like "a writer", does that make any sense Tamara? Anywho, it comes to me quite often at 3am, while I'm working πŸ™‚

    • It does make sense, although I definitely think of you as a writer. I think maybe the differences lie in our experiences and what we want out of it. Like, my top life thing would be to write a best-selling book. Yes, I already partly did that, but I want more, more, more.

  8. I love your photos….like always….and I cannot believe YOU have problems writing or thinking, you are so good at it I would never think of it. Your new lens…i LOVE. I also like how Des likes to play with the running water…my daughter does the same. πŸ™‚ It's probably not the lens as much as it is YOU who is great at showing wonder, teamwork, humor, and eyelashes.

    • Well, thank you! Yes, lenses can’t do much on their own, if anything. So thank you, thank you. And that’s a nice compliment that you think it comes easily to me! It does, a lot of the time, but not always.

  9. My problem is that I get too much inspiration and have no idea how to just focus on one instance of inspiration. I admit it, I'm a rambler. I'm also a night owl, so those "witching hours" you speak of sound kind of familiar. Nice pics, as always. My daughter would LOVE that train!

  10. The words find me, then I have to go find some more because it’s never enough words, just something to start me off.
    You’re gorgeous, your kids are gorgeous, lens or no.

    • I think that happens a lot. Sometimes the whole thing finds me, and sometimes just parts of it and I fill in the rest.
      And wow, thank you!!!!!! Not enough exclamation points for that one. I mean, I know my kids are gorgeous but have trouble believing myself to be.

  11. I’m a lot like you when it comes to the words. Sometimes they come at me, I don’t have to search for them. And I always know when that happens, it’s magic.

    Love the photos. Eyelashes are part of why I got into the photo-taking thing too!

  12. Yes, my worries too seem to peak when I’m awakened in the middle of the night. Before I got pregnant I used to wake up in a panic about motherhood and giving birth (surprisingly that stopped after I got pregnant), not it’s just other things that cause me anxiety in the middle of the night. I wish that middle-of-the-night thoughts were at least productive sometimes!

    • I used to have those thoughts when I was first pregnant with Scarlet. Then I lost a lot of the fears. It's funny but those nine months really do mentally prepare you in some ways! Maybe not all, but it helped me.

  13. Right? That's totally happened to me while driving. Thankfully, I can pull over and use my voice command function on the iPhone and that helps. I used to always travel with a pen and paper in the "olden days." The throne? You crack me up. I appreciate the random aspect of it, only because I'm secure in the knowledge that if I do something inconvenient to writing, the words will come.

  14. Hey – I’m awake most nights between 1 & 4 (not cool since I get up at 5) – some days I plan my blog in my head, too (even though I don’t really have a way with words!).
    I think that the new lens is great and the user totally rocks it!!!

    • We should email each other in the middle of the night. It would be nice to get an answer! And hey now, you have a way with words. You’re a blogger, after all. And a successful one.

  15. hahaha..I totally want to eat his face. I tell that to him daily and Scarlet overhears and gets upset. "No, you can't eat babies!"


    One day I'll do that – just throw down with words and see what happens. Because of you.

  16. So beautiful and raw and real. My thoughts sometimes wind around and around and slowly form a message. That's when I know it needs to be created in words. Sometimes the message slams me hard in the heart and then the thoughts…and then the words. And sometimes – I have nothing. So I listen to that. Silence. And I wait.

    And live.

    And more eventually comes.

    Eyelashes… sigh. <3

    • I think that all happens to me. The way the words slowly wind around a message I already had. And then there's silence, of course, and that can be companionable. This comment is amazing.

  17. The outdoor stuff looks like so much fun!

    I'm usually asleep at 3 AM. Though sometimes I do wake up and think there is a ghost in the corner of my room…

  18. Oooh, that new lens is the business, Tamara! And Des has some serious lashes. Scrumptious.

    Words tend to seek me out at the most inopportune times. In traffic. In the shower. On the throne. While my head is in the fridge pulling out veggies and fruits. While cleaning the litter box. While I’m being sardonic in my mind as a preacher does his spiel. Just before bedtime as I fumble in the dark for pen and paper.

    Sometimes (just sometimes), I wish words would take a time out so that my racing mind can crash for a while without some random thoughts careening at full tilt through my cerebrum. Ah. Writing. Gotta love it!

  19. I went through a period of time where I was always waking up at 3:30. I have a hard time falling asleep because it is hard to shut my mind off. Wonderful photos! I give the new lens a thumbs up too. πŸ™‚

  20. Love those eyelashes! I think you’ve got great skill that is wonderfully enhanced by your new lens. I pray you will have a week with lots of good sleep and wonderful posts that come to you between 3 and 4 in the afternoon!

  21. Sometimes you just have to throw them out there and walk away. For me, I think it’s a perfection issue. Like I’ll come up with something and then I stew for a long time. What if you just throw those words down on a paper…it doesn’t matter how disjointed they seem. When you can feel the rest of the story, weave those words all together.
    You have such a wonderful way of writing. You really do. So don’t ever doubt that what you’re sweating about…totally rhymed.
    Ps. The bathtub pictures? I can’t even comment because I want to take his face and eat it.

  22. Sometimes the words keep me from falling asleep to begin with. I turn over, curl up under the covers, and, as my body relaxes, mind mind begins to race. I do struggle with the words sometimes – when I feel I NEED to write something but don't have a topic that is "speaking to me." Other times, they just flow.

    • It can really be a flow, and then it can be stopped up. I'm not going to tell you it's always a flow for me. That would be a lie. On those days, I just do a link party, an Ask Away Friday or a photo post! Problem solved.

  23. I completely understand what you’re talking about. If I don’t take a sleeping pill at night, my worries will keep me awake. As it is, I lay there and think, and think, and over-think about those problems until that blessed, little pill finally kicks in and forces my brain to quite down.

    (PS- Have mercy, I want those eyelashes! Beautiful!)

  24. YES! I keep a notepad by my bedside dresser since words, ideas, and even whole phrases (ooo, I must say it LIKE THAT) come to me in bed. Always. Then during the stress of a busy day I sit down and can't remember it at all. I can only think of the laundry to fold, the dishes to clean, the appointments to set up, etc. I feel frustration when something comes to me so vividly in the wee hours of dark then I can't recall it at all in the morning. Luckily I love your writing and you share with us your 3-4 am thoughts. Hip hip!

  25. If I woke up between 3 and 4 I would be a total zombie the next day! Your pictures are so clear and colorful. The new lens is brilliant, though I'm sure your eye and skill have a lot more to do with the beauty of your photos. And of course you've got such great subjects!

  26. Words come to me in a moments notice but it's never for a blog post. It's for a song. I make up songs to my own music, to others peoples music. I write tons of songs about the things that I'm doing and they almost always rhyme. I have no idea why this happens. It's happened my whole life. All it does is make me happy and the cat wags his tail when I sing the songs with him.

    Now only if they were blog posts.

    Eyelashes are the best.

  27. WOW! Tamara, I came over to snag your link (mentioned you on my blog for Tuesday), and WOW!! Your selfie is absolutely gorgeous. Amazing, amazing, amazing!! The clarity justs digs into my soul! Does that make sense? I'm just 'wowerized'. πŸ™‚ Beautiful you.

    Yes, I stumble to find my words. I AM awake trying to write blogs. THINK of what to say actually. Terrible. I have tons of DIY projects partly started, half finished, and drafts upon draft notes. Oh brother, TMI, right? Okay, this isn't about me πŸ™‚

    Love your post. Seriously.

    • Well now I can’t wait to read your post! And it’s totally about you too! Your comment can be a book long and that’s ok. That’s what comments are for.

  28. Would you look at those eyelashes on Des? I mean really. I can't speak much for your lens, but I can speak volumes on how you use it – and t hen how you combine your photos with your beautiful words – it's like a double gift. I bet you will always fine those words when you need them – or more aptly, they will find you.

    • I don’t know how he sees with those eyelashes! And thank you. I like to believe they’ll always come, and if they don’t, it just means I need to do something else with my brain and myself.

  29. Tamara all day long I couldn't wait to get back on the PC to reach out to you! In the Mother of All Meltdowns, I noticed you mentioned living in Western Ma. (GREAT Book! Big congrats!) Anyways… Now I think from your business page, I read Northampton? I grew up in Northampton! lived on Rt. 66! Then I spent 4 years in Newton, and 2 yrs in Cambridge before moving to Iowa! What a small world! I definitely miss Massachusetts sometimes.

    • Well I simply had to email you! I can't believe you lived on my street. This is astounding. I'm so glad I wrote on your post today. Well I'm so glad you wrote a post on our book so I could come and find you!

  30. I have the words crawl in middle of the night moments as well. Mine usually come at 5am. Which means that when they leave at 6, the alarm soon goes off. Your photos are gorgeous. Your words are epic. You are amazing.
    also? Your new lens kicks ass. Or maybe, you could have an iphone camera and these photos would still take my breath away. I’m thinking that’s the case.

    • Is that convenient or inconvenient that you have your one hour words session, and then it's time to get up? Or would you rather sleep that last hour?

      You kick ass. My iPhone photos…hmm… I don't think they're so great. I haven't downloaded the photo apps on them, because I didn't see the point. Now I see a challenge!

  31. I’m an insomniac. I am up till all hours of the night and then up again early in the morning. Most of the time I run on just a few hours of sleep. And my words most often find me. I go for a run, I’ll be driving in the car and they come to me then. A lot of times when I am driving my son to school, I’ll come up with something and I have to make him write it down for me!

    • I know – you amaze me. I am a basket case when I don’t get enough sleep. My ears are ringing and I can’t stop yawning and I’m so annoyed at everything.

  32. I love eyelashes … My family is very blessed with long ones and they are amazing in pictures!
    I love the new lens.
    I had to make sure I stopped by and said Hi. I’ve missed you terribly. This move is painful as I feel like I’m losing my grip on my blog friends slowly.
    So while the words are coming out … getting a chance to say them right now is so hard.
    Miss you my friend.

    (ΒΈΒ€ Lanaya | xoxo

    • Miss you too. And don’t worry – you’re not losing any grips on your blog friends! Everyone will be here when you get there. Moving is horrific. Long eyelashes are a blessing for sure. Wish I could take a picture of all of you and your eyelashes!

  33. Yes, the words come to me, but sometimes make me sweat too. And ohhh my word, those lashes. I think that lens is going to work out just great, those shots you took were so clear!

  34. Gorgeous photos Tamara! I don't know much about lenses, but I would say it is a keeper. πŸ™‚

    The words usually find me. Sometimes I have to coax them by starting first and leaving for a while – and maybe sweating just a little. But they always come.

    • That's what I love. The consistency. I declared my major at the last minute and I had to do six journalism classes at once. Six papers a week. More than the amount of school days in a week! Somehow, amazingly, the words always came. That was painful, though.

  35. Your lens shows a lot of thing including the fact that you're an awesome photographer. Just like you I find my inspiration in the middle of the night, well early hours of the morning I should say. I have a lot of written posts just waiting to hit publish once I'm done with all my reviewing. πŸ™‚ That first photo of yourself reminds me so much of Anne Hathaway. You're such a beautiful person with a beautiful soul. Today it's about you and not the kids. Hope you're having a great week so far.

  36. Did I miss what lens this is? Very nice photos and reading your blog posts are like reading a page of a novel. I totally can relate to getting that inspiration at odd times!

    • You didn’t miss it! It’s a 35mm prime. My widest was 50mm and I don’t have a full frame sensor, so while I LOVE it, I needed something wider but not too wide.

  37. Can I borrow that lens? πŸ˜‰ I just love your photos, so much. So there's a good lens and then there is the photographer behind it. And you are an amazing one!

    And yes, I wake up with words to write a lot of the time and they are always on my brain. It gets a tad annoying sometimes actually!

  38. Love your photos! Often, I’m inspired by others, whether it’s books, magazines or blogs. I guess I’m saying, yes, the words come to me too!

    Let’s not forget we are all mothers too, a job that has our minds/hearts/bodies busy ALL the time! Tough to ‘hear’ those words with all the noise around us!

  39. OMG! I love the photo of you in this post! It reminds me of snow white or little red riding hood. It's funny I was just telling hubby how weird it is that people are coming out with adult versions of childhood stories like Hansel and Gretel and Snow White and the like. I love the new lens you got! It would be so cool to learn how to take photos where I could actually see people's eye lashes in a picture for sure!

    • That's what I was going for! Little Red Riding Hood. The photo was actually rather accidental. I was goofing off and stopped for one second, and "click." The mark of a good photographer – timing.

  40. For me personally it comes in waves, sometimes it feels like the words are stifling me. I usually take out my notebook that I carry around, or type up some notes on my phone. When the words come they come, I can easily knock out post after post. Then afterwards when I go completely dry I have plenty to choose from. It is an ebb and flow!

    Loving the new lens!! But I love your pics in general so…does that count? #hwtsi

  41. Oh if I could only transfer the words directly from my brain to paper. They seem to flow in my sleep, during the night, when I am driving – all the times that I can not do anything with them! I was thinking of trying some dictation – (for when I drive – it would be weird to dictate in my sleep – but I have been known to sleep talk) – but that is not the same as the release of writing.

  42. Thankfully I don’t have many of those nights anymore (something to do with only getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night probably). Although I did have a spell in high school where I got so stressed I would fall asleep while studying and then wake up at midnight thinking I was late for school, only to find out that it was the middle of the night after showering and getting dressed. Those were definitely times I appreciated going to an all girls school…I’d just pass out in my uniform and sleep a little later in the morning!

  43. I'm stealing all of your tips to get the words to come.

    Oftentimes I just write and write and write, hoping that I'll write myself over and out of it.

    You're such an amazing writer and photographer!

  44. {Melinda} Oh, I can relate to all your struggles as a writer, Tamara! Sometimes, I really have to fight for the words, before the inspiration starts flowing. But I LOVE those magical times when the words just flow!! And I so agree, the middle of the night is always when the panic and fear sets in for me. Usually everything looks so much more hopeful when the sun comes up. πŸ™‚

  45. Lens is fab & photos are fantastic!!! yes- us late nighters- sometimes it stinks because I don't sleep for DAYS, then I am crabby…. & then Momma ain't happy & everybody knows when Momma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy… πŸ™‚ xo, T!

  46. wow, i love your new lens! the pictures are so crisp and fresh. i especially love how you capture the spontaneous expressions of all the kids. are those kids from the neighborhood? how lovely!

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