Schedule a Day of Rest

Regardless of your religious persuasion, I encourage you to take a sabbath. Give yourself one day off a week. Doesn’t really matter which day.

In The Art of War for Writers, James Scott Bell recommends taking one day a week completely off and not writing at all: “Taking a day off from writing actually makes me more productive, not less. Amazing, but it works.”

So take that day off, and when you are planning your daily and weekly quotas, don’t count it as a work day.

In practice, though, I find that I enjoy my writing so much I do a bit of it even on my sabbath day.

Now, if you are a religious person, you may have to consider whether writing is an appropriate activity for the Sabbath. Once on TV I heard a Messianic Jewish Rabbi say that no creative work should be done on the Sabbath. I asked a friend who’s a retired pastor about this, and she noted that Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NLT).

Photo by Milles Studio • Fotolia

That really helped me, because I’d be disappointed if reading were the only acceptable Sabbath activity. Not that I haven’t spent plenty of Sundays reading, but I like to write and knit, too. So I like the idea that I can keep the option open.

Sabbath looks like different things to different people. My neighbor spends most of the weekend working on his yard. He is an avid gardener, and this kind of work refreshes him. That’s his sabbath. I, on the other hand, find yard work nasty and boring, and I tend to kill plants, except of course for that awful stinky vine that keeps smothering my azaleas. One of the azalea bushes died, but that rotten vine…


The point is, gardening is my neighbor’s sabbath activity, but not mine. Observe your sabbath in the way that’s refreshing to you, and on the day of the week that best fits your schedule.

If your idea of rest and recreation includes writing, don’t let anyone hold you back. But give yourself permission to slack off on that day, too. If the writing isn’t fun, if it’s not joyful and refreshing, then leave it for another day.

Your day of rest shouldn’t feel like a day of work.

Disclosure of Material Connection: The Amazon link above is an affiliate link. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a pittance of a commission from Amazon. Regardless, I only recommend books I believe will be of value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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