Saturday, March 11, 2023

Thoughts on Letting Go of Writing Grudges

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

My husband Rob and I started watching a new cooking show called “Superchef Grudge Match”. Two professional chefs compete to “settle personal and professional disputes with their foes in a one round, one dish, winner-takes-all heavyweight battle.”

I enjoy a good cooking competition, but I’m ambivalent about this show, y’all. Grudges? I can’t get behind those—especially when they’re played out on national TV. 

Believe me when I say the opponents play up the grudge angle. Serious smack talk goes down between the two chefs before and during the competition. They throw down not only their best dish during the allotted half hour, but also a prized knife, which is a big deal for a chef. 

The winner of the cooking clash walks away with $10,000, bragging rights, and the losing chef’s knife. At the end, handshakes and kind words are exchanged. Grudge gone, right? 

I hope so. I really do.

The writing world is built on relationships. We connect with other writers at conferences, as well as editors and agents. Odds are, there will come a time when we’re hurt or offended by something someone says or does. It could be an incidental interaction—or the wound could come from a longtime friend or a trusted ally in our writing journey.

How do we handle the pain so it doesn’t become a grudge? Consider Matthew 18:15 (ESV): “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained a brother. 

The word “sins” means, among other things, misses the mark. This person made a mistake in how they treated you. Maybe they gossiped. Or they insulted your work. In the simplest terms, they weren’t considerate of your feelings. The words for “tell him his fault” means to bring to light or to demand an explanation. It’s vital not to overlook the phrase “between you and him alone.” 

The most important step is to go to the other person who hurt us, who offended us, and try to talk things out. All too often, we skip this step. Instead, we go to other people—family members, friends, other writing colleagues—and talk out our grievance with someone with other people. All this does is stir up our emotions, while adding fuel to our offense.

I’ve also learned it’s important to adopt a quiet, humble attitude when I talk with someone else. It’s right, i.e., biblical, to ask for an explanation, but the conversation at least starts better when I treat someone with respect (Philippians 2:3), even if the outcome isn’t always what I’d hoped for. 

Another key? Prayer. I always cover any difficult conversation with prayer, as well asking a few trusted friends to pray for me while I’m meeting with the other person.

As writers, we want to build community, not tear down one another. We won’t be best friends with everyone we meet, but we can treat one another with kindness. We can also strive to do the right thing when we recognize there’s a need to repair a relationship with another writer. 


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She’s authored 14 novels and novellas, both romance and women’s fiction. Beth is a Christy Award winner, an ACFW Carol Award winner, and a  RITA® finalist. Her novel Things I Never Told You, book one in her Thatcher Sisters Series by Tyndale House Publishers, won the 2109 AWSA Golden Scroll Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people. Connect with Beth at


  1. Very well said, Beth. Thank you for sharing. Holding a grudge is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies from it. Life is so much better when we forgive, reconcile, and move forward.

  2. Thank you, Henry. That quote by Nelson Mandela is so true. I was surprised watching the cooking show how many of the grudges were years-long. I know they may be played up for TV, but there's a lesson there for all of us.