March 08, 2015

Joy Breaks - Ruth L. Snyder

"Do you have an 'artist's date?' What do you do to re-energize yourself for writing?"
As I read other posts in February answering the above question, I have to admit I've felt pangs of jealousy. I'd love to have the freedom to enjoy many of the re-energizing activities mentioned, but at this point in my life it's just not possible. I have five children ages 6-17 in my home, including three teenagers and individuals with special needs.

Ann Voskamp reminds us:
"Comparison is a thug that robs your joy. But it's even more than that - comparison makes you a thug who beats down somebody - or your soul."
Now there's food for thought! So, instead of focusing on what I can't do, I'll share what I AM able to do to re-energize myself for writing. I call it taking joy breaks:

  • Choose gratitude. When I'm tempted to grumble, I make a list of things I'm thankful for and focus on those things. This focus inspires me in my writing.

  • Go for a walk in nature. I'm privileged to live on a quarter section with space to roam, natural beauty to enjoy, and fresh air. Taking a walk gets the blood pumping, muscles moving, and oxygen saturating my blood. I often feel like writing after I take a walk.
  • Find inspiring quotes. Every day I keep my eyes open for quotes that speak to my heart. Often I use WordSwag or Canva to make a graphic and share it on my social media. I've found this not only encourages me, but it also inspires others and helps promote other authors' work as well.

  • Take pictures. Taking pictures makes me pay attention to beauty. It can be all around me and yet I miss it because I'm so busy rushing to get everything done. My camera has helped renew my energy and capture precious memories I would otherwise forget.
A sunrise picture I took in the middle of getting my children ready for school

  • Have a leisurely bath. This one takes some work, because like most Moms, as soon as I go into the bathroom, one of my children desperately needs me. I've become more intentional about when I take my baths - early in the morning before my children get up, late at night after they are sleeping, or after they've all gone to school.

  • Be attentive. A couple weeks ago my husband and I took our three boys to Edmonton (a 2 1/2 hour trip one way) for appointments. We left at 5:00 a.m. and stopped at a truck stop in Sherwood Park for breakfast. The bathroom we've usually used was closed for cleaning, but I was told there was another bathroom on the other side of the truck stop. I followed the directions, but couldn't find the ladies' bathroom. A man was cleaning, so I stopped and asked him. I wasn't thinking about writing at all, but when I saw his name tag, my mind started whirling with ideas.
  • Take a nap. Sometimes the best thing I can do for my writing is get some sleep!
  • Read a book. Here are some books I've started reading: Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching them to appreciate an extraordinary God in ordinary places by Susie Larson, A Lifelong Love: What if marriage is about more than staying together by Gary Thomas, The Holy Spirit & Power by John Wesley, Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran. How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn, and Self-Publishing Boot Camp: Step-by-step to publishing, promoting and selling your book in print and every popular ebook format.
 I'm thankful for the joy breaks I can take. Do you have other ideas to share?

Ruth L. Snyder serves God as a wife, mother, music teacher, and writer. Her published works include articles, devotionals, short stories, and novellas. Connect with Ruth at


  1. Comparing oneself to others is such a dangerous thing to do, isn't it? I found your suggestions on how to get recharged really inspiring and quite doable! thanks for a wonderful post. I'm glad we could squeeze it in here in March because your regular day to post didn't exist in February!

  2. Anonymous9:01 pm GMT-7

    Beautiful shots and all very inspiring! Thank you! And for sharing the gems of time that recharge you to write.

  3. Ruth, you make a good case for Solomon's reminder that "to everything there is a season". You also describe on an application level Paul's approach, that he has "learned to be content whatever the circumstances". Much easier on the heart and soul than futile comparison!

  4. Yes, comparing ourselves to others is very dangerous! I'm glad I can share some of my "gems of time" and encourage others who may be in a similar season of life. Contentment is definitely easier on the heart and soul than comparison. :) Thanks for your encouragement, Tracy, Lynn, and Bobbi.

  5. Thanks Ruth, I like the concept of "Joy Breaks." I often take coffee breaks, but this gives an added dimension, greater focus.

  6. Oh my goodness, Ruth. You might think you are accomplishing nothing but you are a true inspiration to me. How ironic that I compare myself to you and feel like I'm doing nothing. (Oh the enemy LOVES to play with our minds--he truly is a thug!) I am thankful for a gracious and merciful God who reminds us daily, constantly, of how much He loves us. And that is TRUTH for RUTH (I had to do that little play on words) and for me and for us all. Thanks for sharing your honest heart.

  7. Connie,
    Thanks for your encouragement. Yes, Satan is a thug and we need to continue to fill our mind with truth. Thanks for your little play on words :) I appreciate you!

  8. Running into a man named Innocent, that is interesting and funny too, as it's not a name I've heard before. Attentiveness is a good one. As writers we want to be attentive, but sometimes our minds wander off on tantrums and we aren't as attentive as we'd like to be. I love your spot where you walk in the woods and the beautiful photos you take. We lived on a quarter section for ten years starting when our kids were about 11, 12, and 13 years of age. That was a "finishing school" for our kids, because they learned about responsibility and work, plus we had a lot of fun too--tough times too. This is the real world, after all. You are an amazing person, Ruth. Like Connie says, I'm in awe of you and what you do.

    1. Sharon,
      I'm glad you found some helpful tips in the post. Thanks for your steady encouragement and support. May God be glorified in all we do and say!


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