The Week of the Writer Guest Post: “A Writer’s Life: The Art of Saying No”

It’s day #3 here in The Week of the Writer and I am so excited to introduce everyone to the wonderful and amazingly talented Tina Moss!

Just like the rest of the awesome writers we have on the blog this week, I am proud to be able to call Tina my friend. She is incredibly sweet, super-supportive and offers some of the best writing advice out there in the blogosphere. You can find her at her blog, Tina Moss’ Blog – She Won’t Bite but Her Books Might!, and on Twitter.

Thanks Tina for joining us today and giving us writers one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard in a long time: “Just Say No!” 🙂

When Melinda asked me to write a guest post for her “Week of the Writer,” I never even considered saying “No”. She is, by far, one of the most amazing and giving writers I’ve had the pleasure to know. So, I was thrilled to say “Yes”! Yet, in today’s post, I’d like to tell you about an instrumental secret that all writer’s need in their toolbox. Are you ready? It’s how to say “No”.

Picture this… It’s 7pm. You’ve had a long arduous day at work, but you slump over to the keyboard to get in your daily word count. Slicing out even this small amount of writing time was nearly impossibly with everything else you had to do. The phone rings. You try to ignore it. You pick up the ling grudgingly and stammer a meager “Hello”. On the other end is…(insert pesky nuisance who won’t let you write loved one)…who asks you to… a) come over right away; b) listen to a problem; c) do anything but write.

Sound familiar? We all have responsibilities of work, family, friends, chores, or that pile of laundry that never goes away. On top of outside bombardment, we have a duty to our writing careers. Being a writer is not “just” writing. Marketing, book promotion, networking, the list goes on and on, but all of it is necessary for a writing career, and yet, none of it is actual writing. Oh, and the number one soul sucker of writing (for me)…social media!

So, how do we get past these endless mountains of everything that blocks our writing time? You guessed it. Learning to say “No”. Ask yourself the following questions…

    1. Does the laundry/vacuuming/dusting/mopping/etc need to be completed this second? Can I spare a fifteen-minute writing jaunt?
    2. Is the latest family or friend drama time sensitive? Will the world implode if I tell my family member or friend that I need to call them back later?
    3. Does that newest blog post need to be complete today?
    4. Do I really need to put up another tweet?
    5. Do I have to go out for lunch or use the whole break to eat?
    6. Will it kill me to ask for help?

If the answers are “No”- and by my oh so subtle questions, I suspect they are – then, you DO have time to write. But, it isn’t easy. Saying “No” can hurt loved one’s feelings or cause you to feel guilty or (fill in the blank). The important part to remember AND to convey to your loved ones is that writing is a serious business. It is NOT something you’re playing at. It is NOT a hobby. If you want to be a writer, then you need to write. The sooner you take this to heart and convey this to friends and family, the easier it will be to say “No”. As Nancy Reagan once said, “Just say no.”

Tina Moss is a writer of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading across genres, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5’1″ Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small packages.

7 thoughts on “The Week of the Writer Guest Post: “A Writer’s Life: The Art of Saying No”

  1. Thanks for having me, Melinda. I’m so happy to be a part of “Week of the Writer”. I love all the articles and sharing each others’ journeys. I know, as a writer, I’ve felt guilty for saying “No”, especially to people who don’t see it as a “real job”. I hope this article inspires other writers to see that their writing has value and needs to be given the time it deserves. Saying “No” isn’t about denying your loved ones, it’s about saying “Yes” to your craft.

  2. Wonderful post, Tina! I have a best friend and writing/critique partner who has threatened to slap me with wet fish if I don’t start learning to say no. But, unfortunately she doesn’t live close enough, and I’d have to do the same for her!

    There’s just so many good opportunities out there, and I believe, as writers, we truly want to do what we can where we can. It’s part of what makes us write.

    Thanks for the reminder and encouragement! 🙂

  3. Great post, Tina! I have a hard time saying “no” to others but I also have a hard time saying “no” to myself sometimes, too. When I get home exhausted after a crazy day at work, I should be able to say “no” to just sitting and staring at the TV or vedging out with a book but sometimes it’s really hard to do. We writers really need to take our craft seriously and do what we need to carve out the time to write, so it’s especially important to prioritize and say “no” when necesary.
    Thanks for all your great tips!

  4. Excellent post Tina. It’s not just sound advice for writing, but for much of life as well. As much as I like saying yes when I can, no can be so important to getting things done.

    Especially saying no to internet distractions *innocent whistle*

  5. Somehow I can always write when I really should be cleaning. As for other examples, I guess I’m lucky. According to my mother, “No” was my first word, and I’ve been using it a lot ever since!

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