A whole lot.
I try to keep my mouth shut. I try to stand firm, even when I’m looking at edits due, an outline that won’t write itself, two websites to be designed and 4 book covers with deadlines looming (and that doesn’t include my day job or my family).
But when someone asks, “Hey, can you squeeze this in?”, that annoying inner moppet that wants only to please other people pipes in and says, “Sure! Whatever you need.” Then I — the better adjusted and now cranky adult–have to deal with the consequences.
This month’s topic is about obstacles. And for me, it’s about knowing when to put up the white flag and surrender. Saying no is tough. I have a hubby and son who beckon with a smile. I have a day job that keeps trying to encroach outside its allotted hours. I have an after hours job and design clients I adore. And I write.
And yes, if you notice that “I write” came at the bottom of the list, it was intentional…because it’s often where my writing has taken its turn in the past. And that’s my fault. My choice, if I’m being firm with myself. I let other things become more important because I don’t want to let anyone else down. So once I’ve over-promised my time, I feel obligated to put others first. See, my obstacle isn’t how busy I am. It’s has been not stopping myself from taking on more than I should, so I protect my time to write.
It’s been not saying NO.
The past year, however, I’ve begun to change that. My writing has become my priority. I’ve taken classes. I went on a writing retreat, and cleared the deck of any other work, for an entire week. I’ve scaled back the design work I do, and I’ve learned to leave the day job at the day job. I am expecting edits from my editor this month, and they will get the best of me, not the last of me. I am finally putting my writing first. I’ve realized it never was about being too busy, but more about WHY I was too busy to write. And that, I can control.
What about you? How well do you say No?