Shaping Freedom With Lisane Basquiat : The Importance of Sleep with Tammy Hawkins Part 2

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Tammy Hawkins is a mom to two wonderful children, the owner of a successful tech business, TaskTeam, AND a children’s book author! She is driven by her passions and is embracing her confidence in this stage of life. Listen in as Lisane and Tammy discuss choosing joy and excitement, how tapping into what we loved as children can guide us as adults, and how removing two simple words from our vocabulary can reframe the way we see ourselves and our world. Watch your “justs” and your “buts”!

Tammy also walks us through the journey of creating Dream Rock Book. Her children struggled with sleep issues for years: night terrors, intrusive thoughts, general anxiety, and typical bedtime fears. Out of exhaustion and desperation, she had the idea that it might help to put her kids to bed with deliberately positive ideas that they came up with themselves. She grabbed one of her favorite gems and the Dream Rock method was born. Spoiler: It works for adults too!

You can follow Tammy on Instagram @dreamrockbook and learn more about the book at Dream Rock Book is available for pre-sale through August 27!

Learn more about Tammy’s tech business at

Shaping Freedom With Lisane Basquiat
Welcome to Shaping Freedom where we teach you how to create the change you want so you are empowered to author a life story you love to read. I am your host, Lisane Basquiat. Each week I'll speak with inspirational leaders and we'll explore and share practical ways to create extraordinary life experiences!

Episode transcripts

Did you all enjoy last week's conversationwith Tammy Hawkins, where we started to
talk about her fantastic book Dream Rock, and so this is part two where
we talk a little bit more aboutthe process. Okay, so, Tammy,
let's talk a little bit about theprocess, right, and really for
the folks out there who have thisidea, who may have an idea about
writing a book, and a lotof people do right and you're not.
This is your first time author,and so I think it would be great
to share a little bit about,you know, how you came up with
the idea and what you actually did. What were the steps for those you
know? I think it's a greatway to help those folks were thinking about
possibly doing the same thing. Sure, I really I wish I had a
really well laid out path for youthat I could tell everything. Really,
what it boils down to is onefoot in front of the other. When
you're new at anything, when youwant to try something new, kind of
like we talked about last time,was just starting figuring out one step,
maybe one or two steps at atime, and then you'll realize and then
you'll learn what comes next. Okay, so first I sit down and write
right out my text. A lotof people feel like they have to know
everything, how to print, howto publish, how to do all of
the you know, what do Ido for the Barcode on the back?
Was a big weird thing for mefor writing a book. I don't it's
still a little deep. You don'tneed to know that until way later.
So I was like, okay,first sit down, write out, write
it out, and then next figureout, okay, how do I want
this to be laid out? Andthen, of course, you know,
get the pictures to go with itand then make sure you have the intro
in just one that. I guessthat's the entirety of the process. Was
One step at a time and knowingthere is an answer for every unknown that
you've got. That's great. Youknow. One of the things, and
like we said earlier in this conversation, we share membership, you know,
in the heir hub community, andso from the outside looking, and it
was really wonderful, is that youI was really impressed with the way that
you kind of put a call outalong the way. So it's like hey,
guys, ladies, I'm writing thisbook and this is what I'm doing,
and it just seemed like at everystep along the way you included your
community in what it was that youwere doing, which I personally admire very
much because I sometimes go quiet andthen I come popping up and it's probably
not the best way to to leveragemy community. So can you talk a
little bit about that? I absolutelyI think it's really, really important to
do that for a couple of reasons. I would say that's almost a three
part business use for doing that asa I don't know the answer, but
I know my community probably does.So, whether it was to my friends,
I even put out some asks toneighborhood group that's got a bunch of
MOMS on it and I had themvote on cover what. You know which
one spoke to them. Just askingpeople along the way, because not assuming
that I'm the expert and then knowingthat someone else will step in and give
me some advice that will then leadme toward the next step. And then
also along with that, is ithelps gain momentum for the project, as
in I'm in now accountable because I'veasked you for support, and I don't
ever want to be that friend that'slike hey, would you help me with
this project and then a year downthe road, how's the book coming?
To Am me and I'm like,Oh, well, I haven't really done
anything. You know I don't.I want to have more moment so I
purposefully tell people what I'm doing,sometimes strategically to keep me accountable. And
then, third and and I meanthis as genuinely as possible, because you
know me and you know that I'ma super genuine person, what's with everything
I say? It gathers interest andmomentum for the project as well. So
once you get to that point,if your friends, family, community people
have seen you get there along theway and known that they've been part of
the process, how much more excitingis it for everyone to then have this
thing that they feel like they contributedto? And that's exactly what I wanted
from this project. It was notjust mine, it was the whole process
and the momentum was really, reallyfun. I love that and I really
appreciate hearing that and I really neededto hear that today for other reasons that
we will talk about right now,but I really appreciated hearing that and I
know that a lot of folks,especially today with so many things that are
going on, it's almost like we'vestepped into this isolation way of being and
it takes a little extra effort inthis environment to really push and reach out
to our communities to say, Hey, this is what I'm up to,
even if I'm doing it like behindzoom or whatever, however we're interacting.
You know, it's really very helpfulto hear this gentle acknowledgement and realization that
hey, you don't have to dothings in the silos, you don't have
to do it in isolation. ReachOut, let people contribute and be part
of part of the process, becauseI have to tell you, as it
felt like you were banging the drumas we got closer and closer to this
kickstarter that you started to that wewere all really involved in it in some
way or another. So I reallycommend you for that. Thank you.
It was fun. Yeah, yeah, so there are two parts to this
process. So one is you asthe author, authoring the text in this
book, and and then the otheris the illustration part, which is so
beautiful and wonderful for so many children'sbooks. You know, and I can
certainly say that for the process thatI went through today that I was telling
you about where it's all about,like the visual. The visual supports the
story. So I'd love to heara little bit about your process around that.
And Yeah, like what was whatwas that about? Yeah, it's
kind of a funny thing because becominga children's book author as a little bit
difficult right now in the traditional sense. A lot of traditional publishers are not
interested in writers who are not alsothe illustrator. So it or unless you
are already a celebrity right. Sothat will stop a lot of people in
their tracks. But I spoke withsomebody who has experience in the self publishing
industry and she said you should reallyconsider self publishing this. You do have
to put, you know, yourown money into the project up front,
more than you would otherwise, butthat if you are a writer that is
not also an illustrator, that isthe way that you would go about it.
So starting out, some Elf published. So I kind of then had
to launch and do it. Well, how do you self publish a book?
What do you what are all theyou know, the red tape that
you have to line up in orderto do that, and so I did.
I searched for illustrator who had alsodone other self published authors through kind
of a similar channel and route thatI was thinking about going, and that
is ultimately how I found the peoplewho I wanted to work with, just
by looking for other good examples thatI admired. That's great. So and
I like the fact that you,while it seems like it was really fast,
it's like you kind of methodically wentthrough this process of like I'm going
to ride and now I'm going tofind an figure out what this looks like
from a publishing perspective, and then, you know, on to the illustrations.
So your illustrations aren't beautiful? Absolutelybeautiful. I Love Them. I
love the way that the characters areportrayed and all of that. Can you
talk a little bit about your decisionsaround or how you how did you find
your illustrator? Like, what wasthat? How did that happen? Absolutely
so, I found my illustrator onthrough a book that had also launched on
kickstarter, and I looked around forpeople who I knew would work that way,
because some that might turn off someillustrators if they're like, do you
have the money to pay? Sowhen you hire it, illustrator usually do
it and installments and so you know, one at the beginning so that they
know you're good for it, onein the middle when you see some progress,
and then one when you've gotten yourfinished products. So I wanted to
make sure I work with somebody whokind of knew what that process would look
like. For me, especially beinga first time person, I was really
nervous choosing somebody, but once Isaw the one, I knew it was.
She was the one. So,like I mentioned, I looked all
over the world people, I hadfinalists. You know that I was looking
at globally, and I found thiswoman. Her Pen name is Sawyer cloud
and she lives in Madagascar. Shedraws beautiful characters who, in the examples
that I had seen were kind ofa parent and child and these small at
home scenes and then some spreads thatare full to the edge, full color
descript you know, beautiful dreamlike scenesthat are just larger than life, larger
than imaginations, and that's when Iwas like, she's this, is it?
Like? That's exactly what I neededfor my book, not to mention
her characters are adorable and beautiful andand it just you know, when you
meet the one, it was likenow I needed to be her, so
I was so excited when she acceptedmy my proposal. I sent her I
really I planned out how to sendit to her. I sent her the
script. I explained her why Iwas writing this and who it was forced
and hopes that she would accept itand take it on. So she did
and it was yeah, it's great, wonderful. So, since you said
it, why are you writing thisand who is it for? Why did
you write this? I'm sorry,and who is it for? So I
wrote this while still still producing andgetting this out there. So people are
pre ordering now. Will be printedsoon and in people's hands before the holidays.
So it's still very much at ourare doing this now. But I
have kids who had difficulty falling asleepwhen they were a little and I was
tired and determined to find a solutionfor that issue. So it wasn't my
one of my children has nightmares,or had nightmares, and that was what
their fear was going to bed.Another one of my kids has a more
anxiety issue before bedtime and it wasworries and you know, your body gets
kind of wound up before bed.A lot of adults experiences too, is
your brain won't turn off. Youthink of things and then sometimes they can
spiral out of control also to worseand worse things, and that causes a
lot of physical stress and kind ofraises that fight or flight response in your
body and then you extra have ahard time going to sleep. So,
yeah, I invented this method withmy kids a couple of years ago where
I would sit with them and wewould calmly talk about things that we love
and things that we want to dreamabout and just have this really positive,
loving where we're instead of allowing thoseworry thoughts to come in, intentionally planting
these good thoughts and good ideas andthen talking in and go to sleep.
And it worked really well for mykids and it was really awesome and really
fun to see it work for them. And then I had other people,
friends and siblings with kids who weregoing through the same thing and I thought
I really need to get this tothem. So I wrote it out in
a letter to one of my niecesactually, and that's how I needed it,
to write it toward a child.So instead of how to book,
It came out as this story modelingthe method for you and and then I
had to find a beautiful illustrator togo along with it. So that would
you be captivating. There's kind ofa funny question in the Children's book world
does is it the story or isit the illustrations? If you have just
a story, will people like it? If you have just the the can
they stand on their own? Andpeople can debate about that all day long.
I've seen it online and author andillustrator groups. What which is more
important? The Combo of this,this story with these illustrations really gets to
kids to a good place by theend of the book and then they do
the method themselves after seeing the charactersdo it and it and it really invites
so it's more than just a story. It's this bedtime routine method, which
is why I knew I had toget this two people, because it really
can be so helpful for people whoalso have that struggle. One of the
things that I loved about this production, as you refer you know, you
referred to it as was just thesebeautiful characters, and what I really appreciate
about this children's book, Tammy,is how diverse a cast of characters you've
created, and so can you.What was that about? I mean,
how did you and the illustrator cometo portraying these characters in the way that
you did. I think it's aphenomenal way to really immerse children in just
beautiful characters. Can you talk alittle bit about that? Yeah, absolutely.
First of all, thank you forasking because this is a really important
question and a conversation that people arehaving right now, and so I'm glad
we get to chat about that.The reason I wrote this book was to
help all children and their parents andfamilies who have of who might have difficulties
falling asleep. So I searched theworld when I was you know, I
say I searched the world, Iwasn't just looking for a local illustrators.
I searched everywhere to find somebody whocould represent kids all over the world,
who could live anywhere and who couldalso do this method if they need help
at bedtime. And so that iswhat this I really, really loved.
One of the many things I lovedabout the illustrator, Sawyer cloud, when
I found her, was that hercharacters are from all over the world and
she does this intentionally and it's andthey're really, really beautiful. So throughout
the book there are girls, Boys, men, women, Asian, black,
white, single parents, coupled parents, lgbt, plus characters and and
really it was. It was interesting. So I chose her, knowing that
this was her style and I toldher, you know, that I love
her, her dream like and diversestyle, and then gave her artistic liberty,
kind of knowing where, maybe,but just giving you know, seeing
where what she would do with it. So I gave her the manuscript,
told her I loved her style andover the next few months she really took
it from from just the text tothis full thing. When I saw what
she had in the first draft,you get a sketches. She nailed it
like right off the bat. Shedid such a great job. So it
took very little instruction for me,but I knew, she knew, we
knew what each other were looking forand she did a beautiful job. Yeah,
it's absolutely beautiful. And and again, you know, the story,
the method and the routine are wonderful, like just brilliant, especially for those
parents, you know. This isfor our children, absolutely, you know,
and it's also for parents, youknow, because it can be an
anxious time for parents as well,who are trying very hard, when they
are themselves tired, to put theirchildren to bed and it's also just a
beautiful book of Art to be ableto flip through and share with your children.
Thank yeah. So I really lovewhat you've pulled together. I'm very
excited about it for you, cheeringyou on just along with the rest of
both the herr hop community and yourcommunity and the world. You know,
I'm loving that. I'm seeing youeverywhere talking about this project. And Yeah,
and can I share what I learnedto and and I was talking with
some publishers and some self publishers,speaking of the diversity aspect. I met
with a publisher friend of mine andI said, Hey, here's my illustrator.
I'm so excited that. You know, this was something I felt personally
interested and was important. I didn'treally know why at the time, that
was I felt right, like itfelt like this illustrator and this this representation
was the right way to go.And one of my publishing friends, she
mentioned to me how diversity is stillso sorely lacking in the Children's book world
and I wasn't aware of it untilI started this project, you know,
because I had never been into theI never intended to be an author until
this came out. And so sheshared with me some statistics that I double
checked and I was just surprised howmost children's books have white main characters or
and the statistics are it's almost fiftypercent. And then a lot of people
get around that by going with a, you know, animal characters or non
human characters, and that's about anotherthird, and so only less, you
know, less than twenty percent ofchildren's books have a diverse charactership, and
that is something that I really feltwas if my book can be a one
book and in the right direction ofbeing inclusive and and being a window where
kids can see kids from all aroundthe world that maybe don't look like them
or I felt it helped me knowthat that was the right, right direction
that I wanted to go and Ireally love how it turned out. Yeah,
me too, and I cannot tellyou, as a woman of color,
as a parent of color and nowa grandparent of color, I can't
tell you how or I'd like toshare with you. I can tell you
I'd like to share with you howmuch I appreciate that right for a number
of reasons. Because number one,you know that has been my experience as
a woman of color, is thatthere are not a lot of books and
that represent or that are representative ofpeople and my children, you know,
their skin tone and and their experience, and so I really do applaud you
and appreciate you helping that world orthe genre to take a step in that
direction and and hopefully inspiring others todo the same, because that really is,
you know, we really want thesebooks and these fantasies that we share
with our children and these methods and, you know, these solutions two problems
to be reflective of everyone and reflectiveof the world that's around them. You
know, I remember a book thatI read, I used to read to
my children when they were younger.It was a potty book, of book
on teaching them how to Potty,and I love the book, I really
did. I loved the story andthe lesson and all of that, and
I literally had to blank out ofmy head the fact that the character was
not a character of color, youknow. And so that's just the fact
that you've been able to and we'rewilling to be free enough to not edit
yourself and really express from whatever itwas that was that was presented to you
as an idea and as a possibility, you know, and as a door.
I really appreciate, you know,from one woman to the other,
that you were willing and able todo that, because not everyone does,
you know, and you could havemade the decision to maybe have the idea
but go the other route. Sothe fact that you were willing to free
your creativity and free your ideas justreally helps with the momentum we were talking
about earlier for everything that you doin your life, you know, and
so you know, I really thinkyou and commend you for that. It
is a beutiful book, illustrated beautifullyand I love the characters and I love
what you did with this and Ilove how generous you've been an are to
other parents and the fact that youwere able to leverage a solution that you
came up with for your own familyand then share that with the rest of
the world, you know, forgenerations, you know, because the whole
getting your kids sleep thing, that'sa big do, is a universe as
a yeah, issue that so manyfamilies deal with and and another point that
I get emotional talking about this becauseit's so important. I actually that you're
not the first person to ask meabout this too. I had, I
said someone recently asked me because I'vestarted now sharing the images now that we're
watched. So I first only showedit about a month ago and is part
of the final illustration spreads and someoneasked me. They said, Oh,
I thought the book was you andyour child, that it was supposed to
be me. And I am thenreally glad that the characters don't look like
me because out of as a firsttime and a self publishing author, this
book could be seen by so manypeople as kind of a covid vanity project.
You know that I was bored athome and I wanted to write a
book about me and my kids,when the reality is this story has been
in the works for a lot longerthan that and these characters are not me.
This method is for all kids andall families and I live in a
diverse community and I want this bookto reflect that. and and it was
really touching when I got the illustrationsfrom the final color illustrations, from my
ill from the illustrator, my familycame in here to my office and and
we were showing them and I askedmy daughter, I said, you know,
why, do you think it's theillustrator? And I thought it was
important to show people who all lookdifferent from each other and people that look
different from you. And you know, why is that? Why do you
think we did that? And shemy daughter, seven years old, and
she without missing a beat, shesaid because this book is for everybody,
so that kids who read it feellike it could be for them. And
I was so proud that kids getit. They they really do, and
I was so happy that she gotit and and that I think people will
get it and I think, Ithink it's it's important. And Yeah,
so thank you for your kind ofsaying those things, because I'm so excited
that people see the mission behind themethod and appreciate the way it's being delivered
and as well. So it's you. It's good. I've known you for
a couple of years, Tammy,and I know that you are not the
type of woman who would decide thatyou're going to have a do a covid
vanity project. That's said. Thatthat said. Even if you did,
even if that was the path,which I know it wasn't, but even
if it was the path, sowhat? It's a beautiful project with incredibly
generous intention and it is a solutionto an issue that parents struggle with,
and if that is what you choseto do with all of this bonker energy
that so many of us were processingduring the pandemic, then so be it,
because what you did was you choseto express something. Now I know,
based on the conversation that we're havinghere, that this was something that,
for you, started several years agoand you've already laid out how.
And again, I commend you foryour courage, I commend you for your
generosity and I commend you for yourwillingness and desire to contribute forward something that
you have discovered that works for youand for your family, because, again,
a happy bedtime is as much forthe parent as it is for the
kid. I'm just going to sayit right like. We want our kids
to sleep peacefully and all that,and you know, it's at the end
of a long day for us towrite and so I read. I'm just
that's those only sons words. DamWe didn't say that. I try not
to go there too much in mymarketing of the book, but it's absolutely
that. I'm just so I cansay that here, and this is it.
This is exactly, you know,honestly, this and you know I
really appreciate you and again, oneof the things that one of the reasons
for this podcast is to provide platformto people who have these ideas and,
with generosity and with love and withcontribution, push through and have the courage
to share a little part of themselves, and so I really thank you for
that. And Beautiful Book, youknow, and it's a book for everybody
and a wonderful addition to moving thattwenty percent needle in the right direction.
You know, it's for anyone whoyou know is listening to this and who,
I think this is a great wayto be inspired to go and create
more and more stories, whoever youare, whether you're a person of color
or not. You know, let'smake this world of fantasy that we create
for our children, that's sometimes iscloaking a solution, you know, let's
make that world really reflect the worldthat we live in today and the world
that were wanting to move toward,which is a world of inclusion and love
and generosity and contribution. One ofthe things that I do intentionally for myself,
not to myself but for myself,is I tell people my plans.
More accountability, I think, likeyou said, a year more now probably
about a year ago I mentioned thatI want to write this book. I
remember we were on a zoom yesand I here remember that day. I've
been and then I intentionally check inwith people along the way of like,
okay, well, now I guessI really am doing this. And because
I want to make sure I stickto my word, I give myself these
little deadlines. I give myself theseif I if I don't, if I
don't really mean it, I'm notgoing to say it. So I better
think real fast. Do I reallywant to start this other business? Do
I really want to start this?And so many people have ideas and I
said I want to do this outand then they never get around to it,
with that' what's that's fine, it'sthere's nothing wrong with throwing out ideas.
I just think it's such a giftto myself and when other people do
talking about ideas that they hope tosomeday get to of. Okay, tell
someone for accountability, make your plansand just start. HMM. So along
those lines of I had kind ofbeen saying, we'll see how this first
dream rock book goes and then I'mgoing to give myself a little time to
ramp up this and it's going great. I'm already it's been one week.
I had a four week presale planand I'm already at a past eighty percent.
Wow, one week of that goaltime. So this last twenty percent
is the challenge. I'm excited toget through there, but I know we'll
get through it. And then,if how, depending on how this goes,
and I'm saying this out loud becausemy next project will be Dream Rock
for women and it's still going tobe thank you. It's still going to
be an illustrated story, because Iwant a sweet, beautiful bedtime book for
myself as a woman. I wantto have and so I see it,
and I don't know exactly yet,but I see it a different pages with
different beautiful illustrations of women of allages and, you know, just a
diverse group of women with beautiful surroundingsand having these it's almost like mantras or
affirmations or walking through this bedtime routineas an adult, because we need those
things too. We need the sort, especially if we didn't learn it at
a young age. We might needhelp with that now. And so that's
the next project, and so I'mtelling Myself Two thousand and twenty three is
giving a little time to ramp upthis first Dream Rock Book and then just
going from there. So I'm reallyexcited and it's been so interesting to learn
all of this along the way,and so thank you for for bringing that
up. That it's not just kids, it's adults too. We all struggle
with finding this is you know,it all circles back to decreasing the stress
in our lives so that we canshow up more powerfully and more confidently in
our skin. And that is aboutsleep and it's about hydration and it's about
moving your body. It's about allthe things and I commend and thank you
for bringing sleep into the conversation.Dammy, I'm so happy for you.
I'm thank so inspired by you,really inspired by you. I have loved
this conversation and I'm hoping that youwill come back once the book is out
there and you have somewhere data onit. I love it if you would
come back so that we can talka little bit more about this topic of
sleep for children and definitely talk aboutthe topic of sleep for other groups of
people as well, because it's soimportant. Thank you, thank you,
thank coming by really appreciate it.Thank you very much, list and we'll
talk to you absolutely