Sacred Compass 8: Part time writer, full time thinker

This is part 8 of the “interview” I conducted with J. Brent Bill, author of Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment.

I have listed the question, as I sent it to him, in italics with an R. Then I have given his answer, marked with a B, and then my reply marked with an R but not in italics. Brent hasn’t seen this third part yet, but I hope to open up the conversation to you, my dear blog reader, to be part of this dialogue too. I can not promise that Brent Bill himself will answer your questions here – or even read them here – but I will try to continue the discussion if you’re interested.

As a final point to this introduction, I want to be clear that I’ve already read the whole book and I really liked it. I’ve already started recommending it to people in San Francisco. I commend it to your attention.

R: How do you manage to write a book like this while working full-time?

B: Well, it's not easy -- and it's not hard. I feel called to a ministry of writing and I love it, so I find time to do it. I write mostly in the evenings and on Saturdays. I am blessed with a largely 9-5 job and so I have the evenings and weekends to write. I also have a good amount of vacation time, so when I need to (such as when nearing a deadline), I can take a week off and write. I'm also blessed that my good wife Nancy sees my writing as important work and supports it. Still, if I did not feel called and compelled to this ministry, I could fill my "idle" hours with the work that needs done in the woods and prairie. Indeed, some of my best writing/thinking takes place on my John Deere -- plowing two fields at one time, so to speak.

R: Ooooh. Yeah. My dad says the same thing about sorting out his problems while driving a tractor. I have had some of my best insights while scrubbing the bathtub. I suppose any kind of repetitive physical activity will do – anything that occupies the superficial part of your brain, but leaves the deeper parts able to ruminate.

I am really glad to know that it is possible to write a great book without being a full-time writer. I’m sure there are lots of people who do this, but too often I think that if you really want to be a writer, you have to give up everything else. I want to find a way to integrate all the things that I do and am into my writing. Also see question # 2 for more on this topic.

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