Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just can't say no. Or can I?


I'm going to complain and then get off my pity potty right after, I swear.

Man, has hit been a crazy few months. I've had long but lovely visits from family. I've gone on trips myself. I've had other visits from dearly missed friends (six houseguests at a time). I've been helping to teach a weekly writing workshop and mentoring three wonderful students. I've got deadlines on my writing that are looming ever nearer. The kids have been busy and my doctor work has been busy. There's the blogging, and also helping to keep other online stuff up and running. As for sleep? Ha! I laugh in your face! (until I pass out at 8 PM and wake up 12 hours later.) My home life in general has resembled...lemme see. You know how right when a tornado touches down in a field, it looks like a dirt bomb went off?

Yeah. That's been my life lately.

There have been no true disasters in my own life (Hello Sandy!) but as a very wise psychologist once told me (Hello Sarah Fine!) sometimes you don't need a Sandy to make your life go nuts. Sometimes it's the little things. Each one by itself is something you can handle, but they're like sandpaper, rubbing away at you until you find that you're worn so thin, it takes very little to break through.

So I've been thinking about the "no" thing. I used to be horrible at saying no. I'm still not great at it. I'm better now. I turned down an offer to teach a college literature course on young adult fiction, for example. I mean, that would be a dream come true for me. Teaching about YA? Awesome! But teaching it de novo, making up a course by myself and dealing with homework and prepping two hour classes?

So I had to say no. For now.

Right now, if you ask anything of me beyond a "hey, how are you?" I'm not going to be able to give much. Sometimes, life gets like that.

What about you? Can you say "no" when you need to?

37 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Never used to be able to, but certainly have no qualms anymore! :-)

Bryan Russell said...

It's a bit like going to a buffet: you may only be sampling a few bites from all the tasty dishes, but in the end you're still stuffed too full.

Kelly Polark said...

I do say no. With teaching, writing, and three kids I have to! I hate to miss out on things (even my own kids' games-had to miss my son's last night to attend a religious ed. meeting for my other son), but life is cray cray. :) But life is good.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Know when to say when! Yes, I've learned to say no. Helps me keep my sanity.

Old Kitty said...

Yes!! LOL!

And it's taken years for me to learn it's ok too! :-)

Take care
x

Caryn Caldwell said...

Sometimes I think 'no' is the hardest word in the English language - to say AND to hear. How great, though, that you're learning to turn things down (which is also difficult). Especially when things seem like a great opportunity to learn something or have fun or take in some money. Good luck with saying it. Sounds like you need it, because you really do have an insane schedule. This way you can do everything right instead of half doing even more. And everyone can appreciate that. :-)

Karen lee Hallam said...

The wheels of life are spinning faster than ever. I'm on a crazy ride, and in-between jobs, finishing revisions, and hoping a new job doesn't take time away from my writing. I'm very anxious about this, and with kids and a never ending to do list...Whew! I feel it too.
I make sure to take some time-any time, to refresh, breath, and stand easy.
When I focus only on what's happening at the present moment, things move slower. And I can see more clearly. Good you said no. Not something I'm very good at either. :)

Connie Keller said...

Wow! Things are really busy for you.I hope you get a chance to rest and catch up before the holidays descend.

Good luck at saying "No." (I'm really bad at that.)

Jaime Morrow said...

I'm awful at saying no. Just awful. I've only recently started finding my 'no' voice, and using it feels awful. Sensing a theme here? BUT in the end it's what needs to be done. I have goals that I'd like to meet, I've let people know what those goals are, so is it too much to ask for them to try and respect them?

Your life sounds like a special blend of crazy busy right now. I hope it slows down a bit so you can rest! :)

Saumya said...

For the record, you're incredible at balancing so many things. Saying no is something I struggle with often but it's such a slippery slope, you know? I've learned that saying no is not only essential to myself but also for those I care about. Hope you take a well deserved vacation, even if it's in your hometown!

Karen Lange said...

I don't say no as often as I should, but I am getting better. I hate the cycle overcommitting puts you in. You're crazy busy and frustrated and mad at yourself for not saying no...

So how are you today? :)

Have a good weekend! Hopefully it will be a bit less crazy for you.

Jai Joshi said...

You know, it's true. We all have to prioritize our time, especially when we're doing so many different things and it's all priority. But it's best to limit those things so you can maintain quality control. Do a few things excellently rather than do tons of things in a mediocre fashion.

Jai

Laura Pauling said...

I do say no when I have to. But teaching a YA class would be tempting! but also a lot of work without a lot of pay. :)

nutschell said...

I think no comes easier the older we get--and the more crap we get ourselves into. haha. Glad you've learned the magic word. Sometimes it's the only word that'll give you more time to do the things you really need to do.

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I used to have a hard time saying "no" too, but I've gotten better and better at it with practice. :-)

mooderino said...

I feel bad saying no, and also don't like to ask people for favours. Double whammy.

mood
Moody Writing

Angela Brown said...

Saying "no" to my kid is pretty easy lol!

Saying "no" when it comes to supporting another writer, doing extra toward some extra writing project...those are really hard. I do say no when I must. I've learned that I'll wear myself useless if I don't.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

It IS hard to say no sometimes, but I am getting better at saying it when I need to. For example, I hate to turn anyone down who needs a beta read, but if it comes at a time when I am swamped with my own writing, previous commitments, and my job ... then I have explained that and said the two letter word.

There is only so much you can do.

Krispy said...

I'm terrible at saying no. It's something I'm still working on, but it's definitely a necessary skill. I don't think I'm anywhere near as busy as you've been, but I'm also feeling pretty dang tired. :P

Here's to resting up before the holidays!

Kristen Wixted said...

Good for you!
That said, would you come walk my dog? Fold some laundry? Drive my daughters to their zillions of activities?
But seriously, why don't you come here...and have coffee with Sarah and me?
We go to Panera.
Okay? See you there! (Bring the kids. We'll feed them treats.)

Meredith said...

I'm sorry everything's going crazy right now! Hopefully some of it at least will calm down soon. Hang in there!

Em-Musing said...

The first 'no' is the hardest. They come easier after that. You deserve to put YOU first. If you don't know one else will.

JEFritz said...

It does sound like fun but yeah, I can imagine teaching a class being a lot harder than it sounds. And if you're terribly busy, that might ramp things up to insane. Smart of you to say no, even if it was hard.

Don't worry. You get used to it (at least, I did).

Stephanie Thornton said...

This is my Year of No. It was hard at first, but it's made a huge difference in my level of happiness. And that's a very, very good thing.

Not to mention, I'm actually getting a lot of stuff done!

Shelly said...

One of the benefits of each passing year is the stronger ability to give a gracious No here and there.

Good for you in realizing it!

Rachna Chhabria said...

You have been super busy. I too had a tough time saying no, but slowly I am learning it. Hugs, and more hugs my dear friend.

Giora said...

It's difficult to create a new course about YA Fiction, but you might wish to contact Prof. Janelle Mathis from University of North Texas. Is is likley to help you to make a curriculum for the course. Also "Handbook of Research on Children's and Young Adult Literature (2010) by Karen Coats can be used for the course. Maybe next year.

February Grace said...

I had to say no to a huge offer writing wise over the summer due to my health, and it was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made, but I know that I made the right one for not only myself but the other people involved. I just wasn't well enough at the time to say yes and I know it wouldn't have gone well if I had.

Good for you saying no to that class, as hard as it had to have been (I can't even imagine) you did what your heart told you and you can't go wrong with that.

I used to never say no to anyone when I was healthier: no matter what it did to me, I said yes. Now that my health is worse I am forced to say no not only often but most of the time, and I have to wonder, sometimes, how much better off my health might be if I'd learned to say no when I was younger...

You have to take care of you. You're the only you that the world (and especially your family) has, and we want you happy and healthy as can be! 'No' is part of that, a good and important part.

Huge hugs.
xoxo
bru

Coleen Patrick said...

I'm getting better at saying no. It helps to have like a million insane memories of those times I should've said no. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Arrrggghh. I have a hard time saying no. Trying harder--though I feel guilty when I do say it. Which can't be helped. Otherwise, I'll be so overloaded I may have a meltdown! Hang in there, and keep saying No!

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Hhmmm, I am still learning, but I can say I manage better now at saying no. keeps me from getting into trouble ;)

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss lydia!

yikes! for sure you gotta learn how to say "NO!" maybe you need to look in the mirror and practice saying it and see how you look and feel. try saying a big loud "NO" or a little "no" or a slangy "no way baby!" or "dude get outta my face." ha ha.

...hugs from lenny

Catherine Stine said...

That would be hard to turn down a great teaching gig... but, yeah, you have to know when to stop, or you'll burn a fuse or two.
Speaking of burning a fuse, we were without power for 4 days during Sandy.

Stephen Tremp said...

Easy. I just say it with a smile. That's the best I can do and it will have to do.

A Lady's Life said...

I have no problem saying no.
It's something my Dad taught me and it was ok except when you said it to him lol

Steph said...

Good for you, I hope that the opportunity comes again, when the time is right! I do not have a problem saying no, and I do not apologize when I say no anymore. I also do not give a reason or excuse when I decide to decline something, whether it is an invite, an opportunity, or a favor!

Eva Inka Nurmaisya said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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