Happy November from Kevin Thompson! It’s three weeks from Turkey Day, and less than eight weeks until St. Nick makes his yearly jaunt. My, how time flies. Same can be said about raising children. They’re little only once, and before you know it, they’re gone, which creates a great segue for the introduction of our next CAN guest, Sarah Hamaker.
Welcome, Sarah! Please tell us about your latest book, Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace.
While conflict among your kids is inevitable, it is possible to raise your children to think well of one another and to get along most of the time. Ending Sibling Rivalry provides a blueprint for reducing sibling conflict and building a calmer, loving relationship among your children.
Huh…And I thought the answer to solving sibling rivalry was simply having just one child. For those who have more than one, what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Hope. Hope that they can help their children learn to get along. Hope that their kids will stop fighting most of the time. Hope that they can do this thing called parenting.
What’s your favorite section in this book?
The chapter on the blessings of siblings. So often, parenting books focus on the negative aspects—things we want to correct or fix. I wanted this book to have more of a positive slant by reminding parents that giving your kids brothers and/or sisters is a blessing. When we keep in mind the blessing of siblings, it can help us through the tougher parts of raising kids.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved to write. When I was about 8, my best friend and I put together a little “book” that my mom typed in carbon copy on her typewriter and we illustrated. It had a few poems and a short story or two. I still have it! I continued writing throughout my childhood and high school years, and studied journalism in college. I was thrilled to get a job right out of college as a magazine editor at a national trade association. Now as a freelance writer with steady clients, I still get a little thrill each time I see my name in print.
I consider myself a writer who’s a Christian than a Christian writer because in everything I write—from articles about ice cream at convenience stores to how to help our kids think the best, not the worst, of others—I’m providing a glimpse of God and His eternal truths, even though most of the time, I don’t explicitly mention Jesus.
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
That writing is a business. I’m a writer. I earn quite a bit of money from writing, and that’s because I’m focused and treat it as a business. I’m not lounging around in my PJs but dressed and at my computer as if I was going to an office outside of my home.
The other thing I wish non-writers knew is that grammar and sentence structure and the mechanics of writing matter. My husband is also an editor/writer, and we often discuss grammatical foibles at the dinner table with our four kids. We’re on a mission to train up the next generation to care about grammar, and I think we’re well on our way to succeed. All four of our kids like to write for fun, and our oldest, a sophomore in high school, is currently taking an advanced composition class that will open a writing center at her school to help other students.
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
By treating this as a business and not a hobby. I have regular freelance gigs that require me to stay on top of deadlines. Putting more than the due date in my calendar helps a lot—I often note when I need to start an article as well as when the article needs to be handed in to the assigning editor. I’ve also learned to let go of some household things, like making simpler meals, when I have a busier week. Plus, I have four kids at home and they do the lion’s share of the household chores now, so that’s more “free” time for me.
Tell us about your favorite library memory.
We love libraries as a family. In fact, even when we’re on vacation, we’ll visit the local library—it’s one of the first places we’ll stop by in a new place. Libraries are magical places, filled with adventure and unexpected treasures. We’ve found that most libraries will allow visitors to check out materials when visiting. Libraries are also often a great source of local events.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
I love to knit, especially while watching a DVD or streaming a show on Amazon Prime. It relaxes me but I’ve learned to keep it simple. No complicated patterns for me, as I tend to forget where I am in the pattern and that’s doesn’t always turn out well. I also sew 18-inch doll clothes, as does my mom, and we sell them at several craft festivals in Virginia each year. It’s been fun to do this with my mom over the years.
Before we wrap things up, tell us about your next project.
I just started a weekly podcast on parenting called “You’ve Got This.” It’s been such fun to interview other moms and dads about different aspects of raising kids. As a journalist by training, I’m naturally very curious, so the podcast is a kind of laid-back, conversational style with me asking the guest questions loosely related to a topic.
Congratulations, Sarah! And thank you for taking some time out to help our readers get to know you a little better.
For those who wish to learn more about Sarah and her writing ministry, please visit Sarah’s website.
Until next time, May God bless you, and may you bless God!