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Rant on binge writing

“I do not like it, Sam I am!”

I’m with Dr. Seuss on this one. I do not like binge writing – that is excessive and obsessive writing for long stretches of time that robs one of things like decent food, exercise and sleep.

I gave up this kind of writing when I said good-bye to my dissertation. In fact I started even before I was finished cultivating more healthy habits of writing steadily and consistently on a daily basis – taking at least one day a week off completely. (My Sabbath practice is from late on Saturday nights until after dinner on Sundays.)

But somehow I’ve gotten myself here again the last few days. It has been a stressful week, something I try not to give in to. And sitting here glued to this chair all day, I remember why I despise this kind of writing so much. It makes for a kind of mania that is bad for body, mind and relationships. Just ask my family.

So tonight after meeting two deadlines – this one and another, I’m going to bed for a long night’s sleep and I’ll get up when my body says it’s time.  And after a mostly slow day of rest, worship and a massage tomorrow afternoon, I’ll write and edit again. I find if I miss this respite during a week I am not ready for the next week and the cycle can curve in on itself. And all my planning fails if I don’t include rest, prayer, food, exercise and time with my family and friends.

Why do this? Why meet crazy deadlines? Well, I’m funny about trying to keep my word, although sometimes I don’t live up to my own expectations. And I do the work I do because I love what I do and want to participate in the flourishing of the world, of ministry and of church life, including helping those who will lead learn the practice of ministry. And most of my life is built on the luxury and privilege of time and money that is far from pure – none of us is free from that burden. So I take the responsibility of these privileges seriously.

And when I find myself doing what I would not hope for those I’m charged with teaching and serving, I just have to look around at the trap of it all and ask is this the right place to be? And how shall I not get here again? And what do my community of faith and traditions of wisdom tell me about living within the flow of love and life and attending to the sacred moments unfolding all around me?

So many interior and psychological barriers push me away from living as I hope. It is a bit of a mess. But I have not yet abandoned hope that both the end  (a good and sacred life in community and service with others) and the means (sometimes well-paced and humane and occasionally crowded and burdensome, like this week) are worth all the energy and time I’m pouring into them.

God help me.

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