Monday, February 19, 2007

Ask the Authors: Monday

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How do you work a "Sabbath" rest into your writing schedule? Is the day (Sat or Sun) the important part, or do you find the day that gives you the greatest rest and take that day off? How do you keep it HOLY when you're behind schedule?

As I also edit a magazine, I have to have my Sabbath on the weekend, so I go old-school and keep it from sunset on Saturday night to sunset on Sunday. If I’m behind, I write like crazy after the sun goes down on Sunday. --Tom Morrisey

Oh boy. Keeping it holy! What helps is that I begin each day with a reading, a sacred reading, scripture, commentary. For awhile it was Molly Wolff's White China: Finding the Divine in Everyday Life. Right now I'm reading a book by Tony Jones called The Sacred Way about the history and contemporary application of Christian practices. That all helps. I usually don't write on Sunday. I do save that day for worship and renewal. When deadlines loom, I may write then but it'll be at 2:30 in the morning or something crazy like that so I figure it doesn't really count! And I try to remember that it isn't about me, it's about the story and God using it as he sees fit. Jane Kirkpatrick

I take Sundays off, and usually Saturdays. I also believe very strongly in taking vacation time off between novels to allow myself to do some living away from the pressure to produce words, which provides material for my work. I know they say, “Writers write,” but if I just went rushing from story straight to story, I’d end up rehashing the same ideas until the landscape of my imagination became too over-farmed to produce a robust crop. I need a “year of Jubilee” between projects, as well as a Sabbath between weeks. --Athol Dickson

For a pastor's family, Sunday is anything BUT a day of rest. Besides, I believe the Sabbath is a separate thing, so I do not do "ordinary work" on Saturday. (Or, if I'm traveling, I'll take another day off during the coming week.) Instead I enjoy my family, my home, and take some time to spiritually and mentally recharge. Sunday is the Lord's day, of course, so I go to church with my family and then I usually work after church--either on my WIP or on my theology studies. I'm almost halfway through my doctorate! --Angela Hunt

I take Sundays off. Our church doesn't meet until 5 p.m. so it's a lovely, restful day full of reading and quiet. As far as keeping it Holy, I try not to be so far behind schedule I have to work on Sundays. I'm a real stickler not only about making my deadline but turning in something that's decent to boot. When I hear about writers with 30,000 words left and their deadline's a week and a half away, it gives me hives. I figure somehow the Lord will work it all out. --Lisa Samson

Except for the last month before a book deadline, I rarely work on Saturday or Sunday. Those are family days, and of course, church and a Christian education class for young marrieds that my husband and I teach on Sunday mornings. Even during that deadline crunch month, when I’m often writing 7 days a week, I’ve never skipped church to write. I’ve found that the Lord somehow multiplies the hours for me on Sunday afternoon if I make time to worship Him and fellowship with my church family, even when I’m bucking a tight deadline. –Deborah Raney

I find the Lord's Day to be my best day off from writing and most everything else. After church I am in a worshipful mood, and take a nice Sunday nap. Around 4 or 5 p.m. I find my writer's mind is raring to go, asking permission to get back to work. I remind it that Monday morning is just around the corner. I'm always glad I take the full day off. Even if I'm facing a major deadline. The writing and energy after the Sabbath rest more than make up for any minimal advances I might gain if I were to write on Sunday. - James Scott Bell

Sundays ARE the Sabbath for us. We're involved in our church, sing in the Chancel Choir each week, and often have a visit from our college son, so it's a day of rest for our whole family. I'm ashamed to admit I used to stay home and write many Sundays when I was up against a deadline. No more. God deserves my full attention that day and I need time to fill back up! Liz Curtis Higgs

My Sabbath rest often comes in moments rather than an entire day. I take breaks to sit and spend time with family or just to absorb the beauty around me and spend time listening to and talking with God. That being said, I have made a covenant with my family that I won't work on Sundays unless there's just no way around it. And it has to be serious circumstances for me to work on Sunday. Being a PK, Sunday means a lot to me. To my mind, it's a day set aside to celebrate God, family, and gratitude, so I avoid letting it be swallowed up in stress and deadlines. But I don't want to get caught up in legalism, so we've all agreed that once in awhile I may have to work on Sunday. --Karen Ball

In a perfect world (and when I’ve been a good boy), I take weekends off. Saturday is work around the house or (if I’ve been a really good boy) torture hardwood into furniture. I often have to work part of all of Saturday, so I try to keep Sunday free from the business of writing. Truth is, I don’t work well on Sunday. I’ve tried it and my production stinks in both quality and quantity. Sunday is my day of rest.--Alton Gansky

My Sabbath rest is on Sunday. That just works well. Church in the morning, whatever I choose to do the rest of the day that is not writing on my book. I discovered a number of years ago that I'd become a workaholic. It was just so easy to go to my office after getting home from church. I decided right then to rest on Sundays. I adhere to it almost 100% of the time. But there have been a few times when the deadline demanded I write. I don't choose to be legalistic, and so I give myself the grace to write if needed. But this is only once or twice per year. It has to be a real need. I don't let it become a habit. -- Robin Lee Hatcher

This is such a difficult issue for us because Mel never has the same schedule at work. He might work one Sunday day shift, then one Saturday night shift, or a Saturday day shift. It's hard to schedule a particular day off for rest when that's impossible for him at work. We take what we can get. We have found, however, that no matter how behind schedule we get with the writing deadline, we're always refreshed when we do take the time to rest before jumping back in with both feet. --Hannah Alexander

I use the time (and the day) that seems to work best. If I'm really pushed (the last few days of a deadline, for example) I try to grab a few hours instead of an entire day. After worship services on Sunday, I usually just relax and be with my family. If no one's around for a few hours, I take a walk (depending on the weather) or read. But I don't necessarily believe the Sabbath has to be limited to Sundays. -BJ Hoff

Sunday has become other things for us since we’re a ministry family. I wrote a book about how to do this called Secrets From the Treadmill, but it’s still a struggle to stay on track and find a godly rest. I try to take two serious sabbaticals a year where I’m away from home so that I’m not accessible. My husband incorporates the same practice. He goes to a monastery. I go to a writer’s retreat center in my state, turn off the cell phone, and hit my knees.--Patricia Hickman

At this point in my life I’m finding rest to be an elusive thing, even though I don’t write at all over the weekends. With a high-energy, high-maintenance, only-child 9-year-old daughter, most of my weekends are devoted to her and her friends (and church activities and upkeep of the house, etc.). I think my real rest comes in the very early morning when I have my Bible reading/prayer time, and then again at night when I take 20 minutes or so (if I’m lucky) to lie on my bed and read a good book. Right now, rest comes in small increments. --Ann Tatlock


At 6:43 PM, Blogger Christina Tarabochia said...

Thank you for answering this with so much thought. (I've gotten a great comment about this subject on my blog.)

Yes, we're not spitting out our salivia to avoid swallowing--isn't spitting more work, anyway?--but I wanted to hear from the experts on how you've worked out this issue in your own life. ;-)


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