The Sunday Night Ritual of Author, Engineer and Fashion Designer Dona Sarkar

Dona Sarkar is a software engineer at Microsoft, an author, and a fashion designer.

I Create.

For me, self care means creative time, and I ferociously protect mine. Sunday is excellent for creative time. I have a day job as a software engineer at Microsoft, but I also have three side hustles: author, speaker, and fashion designer. Sunday is my tech-free day, and I often spend time working on new fashion designs or editing a manuscript.

Up Early.

I usually wake up around 5 a.m. and get in some reading time. I’m always reading two to three books at a time: one about business, one on fiction writing techniques, and one novel, usually young adult or suspense. Right now it’s Unmarketing by Scott and Allison Stratten (which is hilarious and super useful), The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maas (one of the best books on how to tell a story that I’ve ever read) and The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. After my husband wakes up, we’ll usually grab brunch, and then the afternoons are for creative time. My ritual to get into creative mode is to delete email and all social media apps off my phone. I’m shocked at how little I look at my phone with these things gone.


Refuge Zone.

I save Sunday nights for recharging and gearing up for the week ahead. Personally, I recharge by being around other people. The more people, the more recharged I am. Sometimes, my husband and I will do a crawl of two or three different bars, but we always end up at my favorite hangout, Café Solstice in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. I used to live upstairs, so I’ve been going there since it opened. I usually order their Onyx rose or their vinho verde (divine, both) and a BLTG (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Gauc) with a side of tomato soup. I’ll work on whatever writing project I’ve got going on while talking to the regulars. I just finished up Spin your Tale, a book to help people create their personal brands using fiction writing techniques. Next up, I’m co-authoring a book called Model 47. It’s a guidebook for non-traditional entrepreneurs to start and run their businesses without funding.  

My Favorite Products.

I usually shut down Solstice around 11 pm and head home. I am terrible at remembering to take my makeup off and wash my face at night, but when I do, I use Cetaphil cleanser. I scrub my face with a mix of plain old sugar and cheap olive oil. I’ve been doing it for decades and it keeps my skin glowing. Finally, I slather on a heavy coat of Nivea and look like a weirdo. No selfies! My grandmother and my mom both use Nivea so I do, too.

This piece was lightly edited from an interview with Dona.