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Monday, April 26, 2010

Guest Blogging Today

I'm a guest blogger at The Rockville 8 today where I'm sharing my thoughts on "The Realities of Revisions." Keely Thrall, a 2010 Golden Heart® finalist and one of the Rockville 8, honored me with the invitation. Since I've been busy with my revisions and not posting much here, I thought I'd share the link with you in case you're interested.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Power of No-ing

No!

Little word. Lotta impact.

However, it can be a tough word to say.

This week, I drove an hour and a half each way to a planning meeting. Our goal was to set up a writers group. I wanted to be there. I believe the group would add value to my life. But I ended up saying no to this opportunity.

Was it easy to email the leader and decline? Yes and no. I'm sad I won't be able to participate, but I'm relieved not to have another commitment.

How about you? Are there times you've taken on a role, joined another group, or volunteered for another task and ended up wishing you could back out?

Yup. I'd venture to say we all have.

So, how can we guard against taking on too much?
  1. Realize that we have limitations ~ Many of you write, but you also work outside the home, have children still living with you, are caring for a parent . . . The list goes on. We can't do it all. There are only so many hours in the day. That's reality.
  2. Realize the need to focus on our top priorities ~ As writers, creating our stories has to be a priority. However, if we overcommit, we can end up neglecting our writing as we attempt to get everything else done.
  3. Realize there will always be opportunities to serve ~ On my loops, there are seemingly endless pleas for people willing to serve as contest judges, influencers, committee members, etc. But we don't have to respond. If we don't, often others will.
  4. Realize we might not be the best person for the job ~ Even though we want to help, we may not be the one best suited to the task at that time. If we've got a full plate, adding another item could result in poor performance, ultimately letting others down. By stepping aside, we free up the position for someone who has the time to do a better job than we would.
I went through the items on this list as I drove home from the planning meeting, acknowledged the reality that I'm not the person to help establish this new group, and felt a sense of peace . . . until I thought about the need to send the email to the leader informing her of my decision.

What enabled me to combat the guilt and sense of obligation, type the message, and zap it to the leader?

I gave myself permission to Just Say No.

And it worked. I hit send. Not long after I received the nicest reply in which the leader said she understood my decision. No guilt. I shared an alternative to holding face-to-face meetings. She thanked me for it and is considering it.

Saying no worked.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I wanna know ~

Do you find it difficult to turn down requests?

Are there things on your plate you'd like to unload?

Have you said no and been surprised at the positive results?