Writing and Relationships

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What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term workaholic? Is it a man or woman carrying a briefcase? Someone hunched over a computer in a tiny cubicle, holding a gallon-size coffee mug in his hand? What about that person who tells lies for a living and keeps on with sporadic or no financial gain?

I'm talking about you, me, and the many people that devote themselves to the writing craft. We can be workaholics, but we often don't think so because we label ourselves as artistic and creative. Well, whether published or not, our writing is our business and the long days and nights we put into it can put a strain on our relationships. Spouses and kids can feel neglected and friends can feel abandoned. How do we get off the workaholic treadmill and show the people in our lives that they matter the most?

Know Our Priorities

As a Christian woman, I am commanded to put God and family before my writing, in that order. When I choose not to follow those instructions, I am essentially making writing an idol to be worshipped over God and giving my husband third place in my life. That's when things start to go bad. However, when I place God first in my life and give hubby the quality time and communication he deserves, I find that the lesser priorities (yes, I'm referring to writing) can be completed more efficiently and with far less guilt.

Treat Friends as People, Not Characters

They're flesh and blood humans, not figments that we can put aside when the writing day is through. Nor are they sounding boards that we can endlessly voice our writerly woes to. Consider why you became friends in the first place. Chances are, it was due to their kindness and some affiliation that wasn't writing-related. Make sure the time you give them isn't really just a vent session in disguise.

Respect Those Around You

It sounds like a no-brainer, but how many times do we say things like "If I could, I'd rather write for a living than be in the rat race" or something to that nature when we talk to strangers in the checkout line? A lot of people like working 9-to-5 jobs or wish they could be. Comments criticizing other lifestyles come off as snobbery or worse, plain ignorance. That may not be what we're saying, but it is the message we're sending.

But what about those that don't respect us?

Handle Criticism with Grace

There will always be people who see writing as frivolous and can think of at least ten things we should be doing instead that is more ___________fill in the blank  than what we do now. Why fuel their negativity with an equally spiteful response? We won't change their opinions and they won't make us quit writing. "It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling."  Proverbs 20:3

What ways do you make time for your friends and family?