We add up the hours set aside for the kids, for the spouse, for friends, for church activities and community responsibilities—oh, and most of us have jobs outside the home! All of those activities are good. We want to keep doing them, but is there any time left in our schedule to write?
Young moms have been known to lock themselves in the bathroom for twenty or thirty minutes. Some of us hole up in a coffee shop or the library for an hour or so once a week. We write after the rest of the household has gone to bed, or we drag ourselves out of bed an hour ahead of the family.
The daily grind crushes us into exhaustion. We need a break from the day-in-day-out pressures of life.
Writers’ conferences provide for that much-needed break. Once I experienced the creative energy generated by a conference, I was hooked.
Not gonna happen this year.
I’ve signed up for our ACFW National Conference online, and I’ll be attending a second conference also online. I appreciate all the opportunities I have to improve my craft, but I’ll still be sitting at home in front of my computer. The laundry and the dishes will still call out for attention. It just won’t be the same joy as meeting other writers in person.
But I will be getting some uninterrupted writing time, almost a week of Jesus and me and the beach and my computer! I’m calling it my Writing Sabbath. Usually, I consider a sabbath a total rest from work, so if writing is my work, how can a week of writing be my sabbath?
The Writing Sabbath
This sabbath is really rest from the daily grind. I’ll be in unfamiliar surroundings. No schedule, no to-do list. Each day can stretch before me with choices for the moment. Shall I take a walk on the beach and talk to Jesus, eat some breakfast, or jump into a chapter? Shall I put a salad together, outline my next book for a while, or take a dip in the pool?
So where might you be able to find a writer’s sabbath this summer or fall? It doesn’t have to last a week. God provided the blessing of a condo rented months ago in anticipation of a family wedding. COVID-19 may have changed my original plans, but Jesus had already made a divine appointment in its place.
A twelve-hour sabbath is better than no sabbath at all.
Even a complete day out of the house and off the job can be a welcome breath of fresh air.
Maybe a good friend is heading out of town for the weekend. Would they mind if you wrote at their house for the whole day?
If you have the spare funds, rent a hotel room for a night or two. You’d have all that time to write from check-in to check-out. Inns at our state parks have the extra bonus of nature walks or kayaks, swimming pools or horseback riding for the hours when you need to move and stretch.
If you’re not sure a hotel room fits your budget, those same state parks allow you to use their facilities with a moderate entrance fee. The common areas of the inn are still available as a place to write in beautiful surroundings.
Some ministries actually provide retreats for Christian writers. I’ve spent time at Shepherd’s Gate, part of REST Ministries, and I’ve visited St. Benedict’s. If you Google “retreat centers in Indiana,” you’ll find many possibilities. Some are free, and those who charge for overnight accommodations and food offer reasonable rates.
No matter how you decide to break away from all the stress of the pandemic on top of your daily grind, I pray you’ll find refreshment for your spirit as you and the Lord enjoy a writing sabbath together.
Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.
A wife, mother of three, grandmother to seven, Linda regales the youngest grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!
Where Linda can be found on the web: