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You’re Allowed to Say “No.”

In a previous post, I talked a little bit about how saying “yes” to writing means saying “no” to doing something else. Because of the great importance of that choice, I wanted to focus this week’s pep talk on encouraging all of you: it is okay to say no to things. You have every right to guard your writing time. In fact, you may have to, in order to succeed in your writing goals.

Personally, weekends are my writing time. I work full-time throughout the week, and while I do make it a point to get some drafting done each morning, the weekend is when the time constraints are gone. I can write all day, if I wish. Unfortunately, last year, I didn’t guard that boundary as well as I wanted to – and needed to.

Suddenly, I started to see my weekends disappear. Friends and family were inviting themselves into my weekends, filling up my days with lovely company and constant activities. And as much as I enjoyed being around them, I could feel that invisible boundary being compromised and pushed back, over and over. And it was causing me so much angst Eventually, I stopped enjoying people-time altogether, because there was no writing-time, which is me-time. I had lost my courage to say “No,” because I felt like “I want to write” was not a good enough reason to turn down social plans.

But it is. My friends, it is.

When November rolled around, and with NaNoWriMo’s deadlines looming in my future, I finally got the courage to start telling people “No.” I laid out the clear boundary that for four consecutive weekends, I would not be having company over, and I would not leave the house unless it was on my terms. And as challenging as that November was, for many reasons…I learned over the course of the month that it was not only okay say “No,” it was necessary for me to my achieve goals.

This week, I want to encourage you to lay the boundaries that allow you to be as productive and fulfilled as possible. You may have responsibilities to family, school, or work that must be answered. But beyond that, you have time that is yours to dictate, and your writing goals are all the reason you need to say, “No” to making other plans. Don’t let yourself be convinced that your writing is not important, or that you must have a “better” reason to decline an invitation, skip a party, or postpone having someone over to visit.

Find the balance that allows you to move ahead in your drafting as well as the rest of your life…and hold that line. No one else can hold it for you.

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