Wednesday, March 2, 2016

#IWSG: Hang on Tight and Learn to Say No

 
 
I feel like I'm insecure about the same thing every month here lately: balance and time. That little girl in this picture looks excited and scared, and that's just how I feel, too.
 
The past few months, I've been SO BUSY as a writer. And that's wonderful! It means I'm successful. But "successful" at this stage is an interesting predicament. I'm successful in that my work is getting out there and I'm getting paid for it. But I'm not successful enough that I can afford to stop doing the other things I do to make money (i.e.: teaching middle school). So it all comes down to time.
 
I keep hearing that part of the They Might Be Giants Theme Song where one of the Johns says: "make the merry-go-round go faster so that everyone needs to hang on tighter just to avoid being thrown to the wolves." I'm not sure what I think the "wolves" are exactly, other than not being allowed to do this anymore.
 
I guess that's a good sign: that it matters that much to me. I'm working hard all the time, making sure I make my deadlines, and take all the opportunities that come my way: guest posting, speaking, teaching, etc. The *all* in that sentence is probably the problem. I'm taking on too many things.
 
So, I'm learning to say no, judiciously. The judiciously is the hard part. And every time I say no, I'm worried it means I will never be asked again. But there are only so many hours in each day, and even fewer that I can devote to writing and writing business.
 
How do you decide which opportunities to say no to? 
 
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This posting is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To check out other posts by writers in a variety of places in their careers, check out the participant list. This group is one of the most open and supportive groups of people I have ever been associated with. If you write, you should check them out!


18 comments:

  1. Saying no can be hard but sometimes it is necessary. So far, I don't think I've said no, and all of those yes's are starting to bring me down. Good for you for having the strength to say no.

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    1. Well, I'm getting better at it. But dang, it's hard, especially when it's something I want to do but the timing is just poor.

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  2. I think that merry-go-round pic is a perfect analogy for the life of a writer. Congrats on getting paid for your work and learning to judiciously say no. I've been doing a lot of that recently, but I still can't seem to get ahead on my to-do list. Like you suggest, I'll just keep hanging on and hope thing get better. Good luck with all you do! :)

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    1. Here's hoping it gets better for both of us!

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  3. The photo sums up the writer's life so well. A real merry-go-round. Sometimes make us feel our life is getting out of control.
    We sometimes just have to slow it all down for a while. I know I do. Well done you.

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    1. That's the plan. I know we'll find the right speed eventually.

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  4. Recently, I was asked to apply for a position on a committee. I didn't really want it, but since I was asked three times, I applied. I was so thankful when they turned me down. :) I'm slowly learning to trust my gut.

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    1. How funny that they turned you down after asking you to apply. But also lucky!

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  5. That's hard. I don't have as many things vying for my attention, but I still find it hard to set priorities and say no. My main issue is guarding my writing time, which can so easily slip away when I say yes too much. Good for you for saying no when you need to.

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    1. Yes! One of the hard things about protecting writing time is that you don't look like you're "doing anything" when you're writing. So, people think it's okay to interrupt.

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  6. I am entering the say no stage. I just added another THING that I'm excited about, but it means I need to cut back in other areas. It's hard to slow down when I've been in learning and connecting mode for so long. I'm realizing I'm not a new writer anymore.

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    1. That's a good point. Maybe it's time to stop thinking of myself as a newb.

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  7. Sometimes you have to say no, just to maintain your sanity.

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    1. Um, well, we might be too late for that. Just kidding. You're exactly right. There are limits.

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  8. I don't balance things well. When going out for a few hours one day leads to needing at least two days of rest, each moment I have is carefully defined but many things get lost.
    Wish I could help you!

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    1. Right back at you! All of us have our different troubles to balance while we pursue our dreams. But like Dorey the fish, we just have to keep swimming.

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  9. Congrats on your success, Sam! You've earned every second of it.

    I try not to say no to opportunities for my fiction, but as a freelance journalist, I usually decide by gauging my level of interest in the project, the rate of pay, and how long it will take me. Basically, it boils down to this: is it worth it?

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    1. Those are some excellent criteria for culling opportunities. Thanks!

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