Today on Musa Monday, I have the return of Meggan Connors. Take it away, Meggan.
The Art of Saying No
As writers, especially in the beginning, we hear the word no a lot. I mean, a lot a lot. No, your book isn’t for me. No, we’re not accepting submissions in this category. No, we don’t think this book is right for our line.
No, no, no.
But what happens when we finally get that yes?
Like many writers, I have another job. I have small children, a husband and responsibilities. In short, I have a lot of stuff. (Very specific word there, “stuff.” It can describe anything—I could have an enormous collection of Regency-era pantaloons. I don’t, but I could).
In any case, when I got my first yes, I mistakenly thought the hard part was over. After all, someone had agreed to publish my book. All I had were edits and then I’d be a bestseller, right?
No. (There’s that dreaded word again!)
It’s not just edits. It’s edits and marketing and tweeting and blog posts and Facebook and keeping up with comments on the blog(s). Oh, and don’t forget to write the next book!
So, how does one do all of this and still have a job, a family and responsibilities?
By saying no, of course.
Now, I’m a people-pleaser by nature, and a teacher by profession, so of course I want to help.
Arrange the PTA dinner? Of course
Teach an extra course after school? Absolutely
Provide private therapy services during your off-time? Sure
Coach soccer (even though I never played)? Uh, okay.
In the end, the only thing I said no to was sleep.
But there is a tipping point, where something has to give. Where you can’t be all things to every person who requires something of you. Where, if you say yes to just one more thing, your head might explode.
This happened to me this fall, when, on top of trying to finish up both Jessie’s War and Wandering Heart, I was, indeed, coaching soccer, teaching a course after school, and trying to work the full time job on top of everything else. By November, I had reached my breaking point. Stick a fork in me. I was done.
So, instead, the questions being asked and their answers sounded something like this:
Will you arrange for a parental shopping night for the PTA? No
Will you provide therapy during your track break? No.
Wife, will you please do the dishes? No.
Mom, will you feed us? .
Okay, being honest, I did do the dishes (but I learned to tolerate a few in the sink), and I did feed the children (but discovered sometimes pancakes for dinner are a big hit), and I wound up caving on the therapy services during the time I was off (but only one Saturday a month). As the title of this blog implies, saying no is an art, not a science. It takes practice and negotiation.
I, like the book I’m writing, am a Work-in-Progress. But at least this time, I’m learning to say no.
I find saying no is good if I want to stay sane.
What about you? Do you find yourself saying yes a little too often? And how do you maintain your sanity with all that life has to throw at you? (I ask because I really want to know!)
Check out Meggan's latest release, Jessie's War (what a brilliant cover!)
The American Civil War has raged for more than ten years. The outcast daughter of a famous inventor, Jessica White has struggled to salvage what little remains of her life. Then, one cold winter night, the lover she'd give up for dead returns, claiming the Union Army bought the plans for her father's last invention. But he's not the only one who lays claim to the device, for the Confederacy wants the invention as well. Both sides will kill to have it.
...And only he can save her.
As an agent for the Union Army, Luke Bradshaw is a man who will use whomever and whatever is at his disposal in order to complete his mission. An attack by Confederate soldiers ensures that Jessie will turn to him for help, but Luke can't help but wonder about the secrets she keeps--and if those secrets will ultimately prove fatal.
Musa buy link
You can find Megan at megganconnors.wordpress.com