When It’s Time to Pull out the Mommy Voice and Just Say No.

SO001396I have a confession to make.  I get myself in scheduling trouble.  A lot.

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?

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About Jeannie Ruesch

Jeannie Ruesch is an author of historical romantic suspense, a graphic designer, a mom and an avid fan of popcorn. Her next book, CLOAKED IN DANGER, comes out January 27, 2014— “...larger-than-life characters, a vivid and believable setting, heart-pounding romance and just the right amount of mystery. Don’t miss it! It kept me reading deep into the night.” — New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak

15 thoughts on “When It’s Time to Pull out the Mommy Voice and Just Say No.

  1. Oh yes, I have this problem too. I hate saying no to people and I’ll overbook myself. I had to say no to a critique a little while ago and I felt terrible. I just didn’t have the time though.

  2. Ooo that is a hard one. Especially when it comes to promo opportunities. We are expected to get out there and push our own work, but promoing can take so much time and sometimes it comes at the expense of the actual writing. But saying no to a promo opportunity feels like I’m missing out on a chance to get my work out there. Then again, too much promo and I won’t have any work TO promo lol Slippery slope 🙂

    I’ve been trying to be much better at treating my writing like the day job it really is and say no to things – it’s a struggle 🙂

    • You know, I could say “If I wrote as a day job, this would be easier.” But I know what a crock that is. I’d just find other ways to use more of the time I already over promise. LOL

      And yeah, I know what you mean about promo time vs. writing time. Such a tough balance!

  3. Very good points, Jeannie. This hits us all where we live, no doubt about that. I’m in a tiny town that runs on volunteers, and have only recently learned the N word. I’m impressed that you’ve managed to stick to your guns!

    • I haven’t managed QUITE as well as I’d like, but I’m getting there. It’s far, far better than it was last year, or the year before that…so improvement is the right direction!

      A town that runs on volunteers? Sounds intriguing!

  4. I SO SO GET THAT! But lately, I’m a “no” machine because, quite honestly, I’m overwhelmed and tired. 🙂 Congrats for putting your writing first this year. (Well, not at the VERY bottom of the list anyway). I don’t think any Mom can put anything ahead of her kids. It’s biologically impossible.

  5. I learned to say no. I have five kids (4 are at home), a husband and two cats. When it is my writing time, they know I will listen with one ear. They know they come first but my writing time is MINE, so unless someone is dying or the house is burning, I’m to be left alone.

    • That’s awesome, Ednah. I know my husband gets that when the editor sends me work, it takes priority. Tough thing is that my office is in our living room (no where else for it to be) so it will come for me to take the laptop elsewhere, I think…

  6. Love that you’ve mastered (or at least started working on) the art of saying no. If only I could hone that skill.

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