Saying "No" isn't easy! Especially when you work from home and everyone thinks that you must have all sorts of free time that needs filling. They mean well--they do! But free time? I haven't had free time in over a decade!
So Patricia Bradley and I have come up with a few ways to say "No" when it's hardest.
Do you see any "excuses" that you use? Comment and let us know how you keep your writing time safe--we're always eager to add to our personal lists!
When I first quit working my day job to write, suddenly people thought I was available to do all sorts of things…like go to the movies at the drop of a hat, or lunch, or ferry their children to their sports activities. So, how do you say no to worthwhile activities so you can meet a deadline? Here are 5 excuses I’ve come up with:
1. If I go to the movies with you and then I write a story that’s similar, people will think I stole the idea, so thanks, but I better pass.
2. Let me check my calendar. Every week I set up a schedule and pencil in what hours I’ll be writing on my calendar. When someone asks me to do something, I can honestly look at my calendar and say I have an appointment. I don’t have to tell them it's an appointment to write.
3. I’m so sorry, but I have a deadline and I’m way behind. Most of the time now that I’m contracted, people understand. But I still get the “look” that says but you’re only writing.
4. I’m expecting a call from my editor. That isn’t a lie. If I don’t get my manuscript in on time, I’ll definitely get that call.
5. Let me pray about it. It should be my first response but rarely is. When I use it, the person requesting can’t object. That keeps me from automatically saying yes—something I’m apt to do if I don’t consider the cost first. Praying actually helps me to stop and see if it’s something I can do.
1. I'm sorry, but that's during my office hours, and if I don't write like the wind, I'll never make my deadline. 100% true.
2. I'm sorry, I can't go out tonight. If I don't put my son to bed, Mr. Johns won't either! Also 100% true. Mr. Johns is an excellent father, but bedtime? Yeah, our kid walks all over him... ;)
3. I've booked myself solid... I probably should have been less enthusiastic when I was giving my editors dates. But let's be honest--back-to-back books is how an author makes a living! I don't schedule a lot of downtime between books because it affects the bottom line.
4. Can I get back to you when I come up to breathe? Sometimes that's the best answer. And I'm good for that! When I get my manuscript submitted and I'm catching my breath, I call back my friends and schedule some coffee dates.
5. I would, but I have a date with my husband... ;) And sometimes, Mr. Johns doesn't even know about it, but I have plans for that man after our son is safely tucked in. LOL!
So what about all of you? How do you guard your writing time to meet your deadlines?