by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills
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Writers are often asked to volunteer, give of their time and talents, bend, stretch, and fed guilt-lines to convince them to edit, speak, teach, write, mentor for free, read my book and tell me what’s wrong, and the list goes on. You probably have been posed the same question.
Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts about helping others. A willingness to serve is a positive trait for all of us. Unfortunately, too many times we say “yes” because we feel it’s our obligation to respond positively to all opportunities, but the art of saying “no” takes guts, planning, determination, and practice.
The problem of always saying “yes” can affect us negatively. Burn out can sour us permanently on what we once held as our deepest desire.
- The writer’s manuscripts are late or are written poorly. The repercussions of this practice are developing an unprofessional reputation and losing credibility along with future contracts.
- The writer sacrifices nutritionally sound eating, exercising, and quality sleeping hours. As a result, the writer’s physical health suffers.
- The writer’s mental health spirals downhill, which means a mix of negative feelings and a poor self image. The writer can also become resentful of others.
Writers don't want all that extra baggage weighing them down!
How can we graciously decline a request without feeling stressed, guilty, or avoiding those who have solicited our help? For that matter, how many times have you refused to answer your phone or open an e-mail for fear someone is enlisting your help?
First determine if the request is an opportunity to contribute something worthwhile. Will you feel satisfaction and be proud of the work ahead and the finished product? Will you look back on the endeavor and be glad you were involved? If this isn’t a project for you, the following will help you in responding. Remember being truthful seals your integrity.
- Thank you for thinking of me. I’m honored that you’d consider me for your event. My calendar is presently filled. Perhaps I can recommend another writer/speaker?
- Thank you for the opportunity to assist in your plans. I’m currently on deadline and will need to decline. Would you like for me to suggest another professional?
- Thank you for taking the time to contact me. Although I’m not currently taking on additional projects, feel free to contact me in the future.
- Congratulations on finishing your writing project. I understand the importance of feedback before submitting your manuscript to an agent/editor. At the present, I’m unable to add additional work to my schedule. Thank you for thinking of me.
Take a deep breath. That wasn’t so difficult. You can say no and feel good about it!
As writers, we must guard our #writing time - thoughts from @DiAnnMills on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)
Do you have a burning passion to pen a novel but don’t know where to begin? Have you been writing but your work still remains unpublished? Are you ready to take positive steps toward pursuing your dream of creating a polished novel? The Dance of Character and Plot is for you. This how-to book will take you from story idea to self-editing with lots of resources!
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.