Thursday, September 2, 2010

Toxic Relationships

Thursdays - Devotions for Writers

“When a blind man leads a blind man,
they both end up in the ditch.”
(Matthew 15:14 TM)

Today, I’m asking you to consider the people who surround you . . .

Are you in relationship with people who support your writing goals? Or do you hang out with those who think you’re “dreaming” and share comments that put negative thoughts in your head?

We can’t control how our friends and family think, or what they say. They may not intend to be mean or say things that hurt our feelings. Unless a person is involved in the industry, he may not have a clue as to how things work. How much is involved, how long it may take to build a writing career, or even how excited you may become over even a small success.

However, toxic relationships can infect our lives with negativity - affecting our creativity and productivity.

Our development as writers – especially as Christian writers – can be enhanced if we’re in relationship with people who understand us, the writer’s journey, and the spiritual correlations. When we’re passionate about something, and another person is passionate along with us – the fire is stoked.

We also need to be careful about toxic relationships within our writing circles. Writers have shared sad stories of critique groups where members trashed someone else’s work in order to feel good about themselves. A meeting became a place where competition reigned and criticism was common.

I do believe it’s important to be honest within our critique groups. We grow to become better writers. But, it’s much easier to take constructive criticism when it’s tempered with encouragement.

One writer shared with me that after a move to another state, she became involved with a group of writers who believed they knew it all, weren’t interested in tips on how their writing could improve, and gave misinformation about the industry. They were unwilling to learn anything new outside their exclusive group. It was a real case of the blind leading the blind. Out of frustration, the writer finally made the wise decision to leave. She felt it was better to not be a part of a group at all, than to attempt to work with a one that was becoming toxic for her.

If you don’t have a critique group you can meet with in person for support, perhaps you can join an online group. Network with other writers through Facebook, or read blogs (like this one) that offer various types of information and encouragement.

Find at least one person who believes in you, and who will pray for you.

And don’t forget to ask God, “Who belongs in my life?”


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