Writers Need Rest to Remain Creative, Part 2

In her book, Sacred Rest Dr. Dalton-Smith states that many of us have given up on rest and just replaced it with more activities. She encourages us to recognize that we need regular times of rest in our daily lives in order to remain creative.

Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, would have agreed. In her book, Walking on Water, she tells of a favorite rock looking over a brook where she liked to sit and have what she called “being time”—a time for reflection and enjoyment of God’s creation that she never apologized for taking. She knew it was super important for her spiritual health and creativity.

In my previous post we looked at 4 areas in which we may need rest. If you missed it here is a link to (Part 1). In this post let’s look at 3 other areas in which Dr. Dalton-Smith says we may need renewal and refreshment. As in my last post, Molly, the corgi, will help illustrate these 3 kinds of rest.

3 More Areas in which We may Need Rest 

Sensory rest

Molly sometimes needs a break from loud noises

In our loud, busy world, it’s easy to experience sensory overload. Such things as over-bright lights, too much blue light of screens, strong smells, and a constantly-noisy environment can contribute to our need for sensory rest. Dr. Dalton-Smith writes, “signs of a restless, overstimulated body include racing thoughts, anger, palpitations, anxiety, disturbing dreams, and trouble falling to sleep.” (quote from Sacred Rest).  

Studies have shown that 58% of adults have some degree of eye strain from too much computer time. And a large number have a too-loud workspace. Dr. Dalton-Smith encourages us to set a time each day to unplug. She also recommends targeting particular sensory stressors with restful alternatives, such as periods of silence after too much noise, or fresh air after too many strong smells.  

What ways have you found to unplug or take a break from an environment that stresses your senses?

Creative rest

Molly and I love to get out in nature

Some jobs, like writing, take a lot of creativity, so periods of rest to restore and maintain that creativity are much needed. Studies show that our brains are most at rest in nature. We can also find rest in the beauty of paintings, music, and poetry. Dr. Dalton-Smith encourages us to see God in creation and to build in sabbaticals of rest, just as He did. She adds that 90 minutes to 2 hours is the optimal work time for most people before they should take a 20-minute break. What ways do you give your brain a rest each day? Do you occasionally take longer breaks?

Spiritual rest

Molly loves the Bible verses in this book by Nancy Sanders

Have you experienced a personal loss recently? Are you feeling empty and cut off from God or others? You may be in need of spiritual rest. Our relationship with God gives us salvation in Christ and comfort and wisdom for daily living. Did you know it can also affect whether we feel well-rested and have the energy and desire to be creative?

For spiritual rest Dr. Dalton-Smith recommends prayer, meditating on Scripture, journaling, and times of praise and worship. One particular journaling exercise she encourages is at the end of the day, (in writing or verbally) to share your day with God. She also writes that numerous studies have shown that prayer and meditation help people to be healthier—mentally and physically.

When I’m tired or anxious, I often find rest in Psalms 23 and 121. Do you have verses you like to meditate on?

Finding Rest amidst Your Writing

As you pursue your writing goals, do you take time for “being time”? In Psalm 46, the Lord tells us how important that time is.  

“Be still and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV)  

What refreshes your senses, creativity, and spirituality so you can maintain your creativity?

The 7 Types of rest are taken from Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s book, Sacred Rest, Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. In these two posts I’ve given you just a brief summary of a few of her ideas and how to implement them in your life.  

Kathy O’Neill grew up in Maine. She loves the Lord and His gifts of family, pets, and walks on the beach when storms send waves crashing against the rocks. As a teacher, writer, and speaker, she enjoys engaging children’s and adult’s hearts and hands to discover God and their own creativity through art, history, and nature. Kathy has written for The Quiet Hour, Light from the Word, Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Highlights, DevoKids, Clubhouse Jr., Starlight, and Appleseeds. Visit her website http://www.kathy-oneill.com/ to discover fun activities and workshops.

8 thoughts on “Writers Need Rest to Remain Creative, Part 2

  1. This topic is important to all of us. And most of us neglect it terribly. I did until about 6 years ago. Most of my responsibilities disappeared. At first I was at a loss for what to do with myself. Now I love my quiet days and freedom to rest when I feel the need. The best of retirement.

  2. These strategies are great, Kathy, thank you! I’ve definitely overused my eyes through computer work, both during my teaching career and as a writer. Our eyes, just like all parts of our body, need rest and time for renewal. Thank you for sharing.

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