Sunday, November 11, 2007


The Sabbath. Supposedly the day of rest. Over the years, I have discovered that Sunday is one of the most hectic days of the week for the regular church attendee. A family drags itself out of bed and clamors to get dressed amidst a raging battlefield of morning attitudes – mom screams at dad, who in return screams at the kids, who in return pesters the family pet, thus fulfilling the age-old axiom about crap and its submission to the laws of gravity. The kitchen takes the brunt of the assault: black stains paint the cabinet in front of the Mr. Coffee machine, the toaster and the tub of margarine fall victims to an explosion of bread crumbs, and the table becomes a minefield of cereal bowls and fruit and the Sunday comics. In a rush everyone races out to the minivan, the garage door seemingly closing on its own from the vacuum left in the wake of the dashing family. And finally, after a litany of "did we turn off the curling iron" and "did we lock the doors", the family car squeals out of the driveway pit, breaking all sorts of laws that would take a cop a half hour just to fill out the moving violations report.

A typical church attendee consumes half his day with the morning service and evening service. Compound that even more if the parents, or children, belong to a choir, which most certainly has rehearsals. The family either comes home to eat or visits a restaurant, thus burning at least another ninety minutes. By the time the day is done, with all the fussing and praising, a working stiff is so worn out that Monday morning is both a burden and a blessing at the same time.

The question for the writer, then, is when to find time to sit down. Obviously there’s enough inspiration if one looks for it: the preacher ranting about tithes, the parents fussing with fidgeting children during the sermon, Dad screaming at the kids to keep quiet so he can watch half of the Sunday football game before he snoozes off to catch an afternoon catnap. But with all the hustle and bustle of the Sabbath, which after all was to be remembered and kept holy, there never seems to be enough time (or energy in the reserves) to sit down and make some progress.

Right. There’s always an excuse if one looks for it.

So, here I am today, sitting at the table with cup of Chai Latte and a bruised morning sky off in the east. The children are still in their bed, the wife softly snoring in mine, and the family dog yipping because he’s old, and trying to find a comfortable spot on the couch takes about fifteen turn-arounds and a throw pillow. The clothes were ironed last night, baths were all administered last night, the coconut chest pie that we’ll be taking to the Sunday social was baked in the oven last night. Do you see the pattern here?

I’ve found that planning and preparation and focus are essential keys to a productive writing life. Learn to find those areas that tend to eat up your writing life and attack them ahead of time. Free up your time at the desk so that you can sit and allow the muse the opportunity to show up. This writing business is simply that – a business. It takes a lot of work and a ton of focus. And it's that focus which motivates me to get things done ahead of time so that I don’t have to worry about them in the morning.

By my count, I’ve now logged about six hundred and fifty words. For me, that’s success for the one hour or so I have before the rest of the day kicks in. Oh and the Sunday morning kitchen? I went out and bought some donuts. A couple of napkins and a glass of milk and everyone’s happy. Now what do I do about the ranting preacher? Maybe he can be the victim in my next crime/mystery story.


  1. Stephen, I can soooo sympathize. But trying being the family of the minister! That's us... Sundays are my most busy day, but the most fulfilling on so many levels. without my morning solitude (I rise at 5:30, I become one cranky writer mama). Enjoyed your blog... I'll be back for more. Peace, Linda

  2. Linda,

    Thank you for stopping by. Being from the parsonage as a preacher's kid, I understand what you mean. Maybe that's why many preachers try to take Monday off instead of Saturday.

    -- Stephen