Why do writers need boundaries?
Because insufficient boundary protection will derail your writing dreams faster than anything else.
You need to guard your writer’s heart.
Inside and Outside
External boundaries are physical things you can see. It might be a closed door while you write. It might be letting your phone call go to voice mail or the answering machine. It might be saying “no” to another volunteer job—or “no” to your demanding preschooler or spoiled spouse.
But physical boundaries aren’t enough because we aren’t just physical beings. We have another side, an invisible side, and that part needs boundaries too.
Internal boundaries include mental, emotional, and spiritual boundaries. These “inner walls” are built for protecting our minds, emotions and spirits. When someone says, “That’s a dumb idea,” they’ve crashed through our mental and emotional boundaries. We may only feel the sting–and often think it’s our fault for being too sensitive!
Without healthy boundaries (all four kinds) your chances of fulfilling your writing dreams are next to nil. Without healthy boundaries, someone else will always be running your life, choosing what you do in your free time, telling you what to think, or passively-aggressively undercutting attempts you make to carve out ANY time to pursue your writing dreams. (Click to purchase.)
Symptoms of Damaged Boundaries
If you have lived without boundaries in some or all areas of your life, then you will know it by the feelings of defeat and despair that settle in. (You may be saying things to yourself like, “What’s the use?” or “They’re never going to support me or let me write.” Or you might be living in Someday Land, that fantasy place that says, “I’ll write someday, when my kids are grown” or “Someday I’ll write, when life settles down.”)
If these are your recurring thoughts, and you’re tired of putting off your writing dreams, then it is time to set some boundaries. It’s time to guard your heart.
It Takes All Kinds…
Depending on the type of boundary buster(s) in your life, you will need a variety of solutions. From easy to severe, solutions are available! To be honest, the major boundary busters—often dubbed “abusers”—are the easiest to spot (especially in someone else’s life.) Harder to detect are those “minor” boundary invaders who look quite normal. Hardest of all to detect are the abusers who masquerade as the “good guys” and “great gals” of this world, but who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
While the basic anatomy of a boundary is the same for each type, the actual line you must draw (and consequences you enforce) will vary considerably.
Some writers and writers-to-be are in close relationships with emotional blackmailers, passive-aggressive people, narcissists, and verbal abusers. They are difficult—but not impossible—to set and enforce boundaries with. Some—even most—will change eventually if you continue to enforce your protective (inner and outer) boundaries. (Click to purchase.)
What About You?
Do you have healthy boundaries? Are you able to guard your writing time, your mental focus, and your emotional stability? We all have periods of our lives (and certain people) that we’d love to avoid. We worry about our kids or parents or the economy or an unwelcome health issue. We have hurt feelings from real or imagined betrayal by a friend or loved one.
Because we writers are such thinkers by trade, we tend to ruminate about these things more than is helpful.
When we’re talking about boundaries, sometimes the most important ones—and the most helpful ones—are the ones we set on ourselves. It gives us the necessary resolve and confidence to set boundaries with others that will stick. (See below for a complete Table of Contents.) (Click to purchase.)
Table of Contents: Boundaries for Writers
Chapter One “Why Writers Need Boundaries: Guarding Your Writer’s Heart” … 3
Chapter Two “Four Essential Types of Personal Boundaries” …8
Chapter Three “How Healthy Are Your Boundaries? A Quiz” … 12
Chapter Four “Rebuilding Boundaries” …21
Chapter Five “Setting Boundaries on Rejection and Other Business Matters” … 29
Chapter Six “A Special Kind of Boundary: Time” … 35
Chapter Seven “People Pleasers and Boundary Busters: A Marriage Made in Heaven” …42
Chapter Eight “Pleasures to Lift the Spirits: Boundaries for Self-Care” … 46
Chapter Nine “Boundaries with Friends and Family” … 51
Chapter Ten “Living with Severe Boundary Busters” … 58
Chapter Eleven “Are Boundaries Scriptural?” … 65
Chapter Twelve “Resources” … 69