Monday, October 29, 2007

No. Maybe. Okay… yes.

The last few months I haven’t really read or looked at the RWR. I’ve been too busy. I’m still busy, but I wanted something to read while soaking in the tub the other night. I grabbed the RWR because I can’t start a book right now, well, I have one started, but I can’t finish it. Right now I have so much reading- not for fun to do that I can’t afford to read for fun. And what I need to read is all in my computer so it makes it kind of hard to read while in the tub- anyhoo- I picked up the RWR and soaked away, reading. There were points in several articles that struck a chord with me.

The one that really hit, because of everything happening right now, was: “What I Wish I’d Known Before I Sold”. Specifically- No is not a four letter word, but time is. This struck me because- 1) while visiting my son in AK, I felt like I was getting farther and farther behind in work. Even though I did manage to get through three partial subs. But the whole time I felt like I couldn’t work unless they (son and grandchildren) were sleeping. 2) I have both daughters and their combined four children coming to visit for a week and I’m already grumpy knowing I’ll get very little done while they are here. Even though they both understand that I “work” from home. I know if I locked myself in the bedroom and worked, they wouldn’t say a thing, but I’d be feeling guilty the whole time. Since I won’t see the one daughter and her kids until January when I go up to baby sit while she has her third baby.

Right now I am struggling also with saying “No” to anything that may put my name in front of more readers. I won’t list all the things I’ve said yes to in the last two months. But just to warn you, if I am completely batty by April – it’s because I can’t say “No”. The only lesson I hope you all get from this blog is to learn from my stupidity. Learn to say “No” and mean it!

Did you find any of the articles in the last RWR helpful or interesting?


Paty Jager said...

For anyone who may have read this earlier- after feeding the animals I realized the first paragraph was way too whiny and I HATE whiners- so I deleted it. If any of the rest sounds whinny to you, please feel free to give me a cyber kick in the butt! Or the next time you see me a real kick in the butt!

Danita Cahill said...

You can whine to us once in awhile, Paty. That's what we're here for -- to share the joys and the sorrows of our chosen path.

I used to be horrible at saying no. I'd volunteer for everything: my duaghter's classroom, field trip chaperone, I'd host field trips at my greenhouse/nursery, bake all the cupcakes for the kiddy parties, throw parties at my house, became a master gardener volunteer, etc. etc. etc. Then I got over it. Oh, I still volunteer, but I don't feel so flattered as to not be able to say no anymore when someone asks for my time. Time is money. Do you give money to everyone who asks? Of course not.

I always at least skim the RWA. Often I read it cover to cover. I haven't finished this month's because, well, the truth is I've become a sudoku junkie.

In the RWA mag, I get the most out of the Market Update section. But I also enjoy reading the First Sales column and the articles.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Danita! When the kids were in school, I volunteered for everything- classroom help, programs, made decorations for the Christmas concert one year, I've been a 4-H leader for over 20 years. Planned to quit this year but have two girls that love to sew and gave me these big, sad eyes when I said I was thinking of quitting. ~sigh~.

And it is so hard to say "No" to things that I hope will further by writing career. But I'm going to have to start soon or be burned out and not have time to write!

Karen Duvall said...

I'm an expert now at saying no, but not to everything. When my first book was published in 2000, I was an unbelievable self-promo junkie. I spoke on numerous panels at conferences and conventions, gave all kinds of workshops, spent a fortune on mailings, signed books at just about every book store in Denver and beyond... I was tireless in my efforts. And I really enjoyed it for the most part. But I learned the ROI (return on my investment) wasn't as great as I'd hoped it would be. So I only did a bare fraction of that stuff with my latest two books. I now use all that time and money I would have used for promotion to work on my next book, improve my writing, and network.

But I could put "no" to better use in my business. It's so hard to turn away work. Still, it's necessary so that I can concentrate more on being a better writer.

Alice Sharpe said...

Paty -- Go ahead and whine, baby. We all need to whine occasionally. Besides, it makes us relatable. And female. And human.

I actually know how to say, "No." I figured this out a long time ago, way back when. That's not to say I don't get bogged down by family obligations, etc. because I still try to put them first. What I try to do now, though, is look ahead. So when someone says "We want to come for that weekend," I tend to project ahead to what my life will be like if I say yes. And if it means I won't be able to breathe for the thirty days after that, I say, "Let's make a different plan."

I, too, feel guilty with visiting family if I want to write while they're around so here's another thing I try to do. I try to write without editing for a few days or a week before the projected visit. Then while people are in the house and my time is divided by visiting and cooking, etc. I can sneak away to edit. Editing doesn't require me to lose myself so if I am feeling guilty, so what? In other words, I choose a job that can be done despite my subconscious' zealous reminders I am a lousy mother, grandmother and all around human being. That way when they leave, I am still invested in my book and don't have to recreate the wheel.

I hope you can practice the no word a little and trot it out once and awhile or you are right, you are going to burn out and that won't do anyone, including all the people you are afraid of disappointing, any good. And as for little girls with big, sad eyes? To heck with them!

As for putting yourself in front of your writing public? How about setting aside one day a month or whatever number works for you, and declining or delaying further obligations? And is there any way you can cancel some of the things plugging up your time within the next few months?

I know you didn't ask for help or suggestions and that you have thought about this a lot for yourself and probably know why none of these are going to help you. As for the RWR? I tend to read the PAN section and whatever articles grab my attention. If I know the author, I'll read their article or column too.

I hope you can carve out some quality writing time for yourself today. I hope I can, too!

Paty Jager said...

Karena and Alice, I really do need to say "no". But I think of the benefits of what I said yes to and I think, I'll get this done. The main thing I said yes to and am now kicking my butt is judging for the Eppies. I told them "no" then they sent out an e-mail at the last minute saying they desperately needed more judges, so I acquiesced and then I received a bunch more work for TWRP and I had planned to do a boot camp for the HTH online group only they now asked me to do a subject other than I had planned so I have to do more research.

But yes, Alice, I do need to start saying no! And I need to figure out a better way to do some of the things I've said yes to and not feel like I'm being stretched to the max.

Thank you all for listening to my rambles!

Karen Duvall said...

Patty, I agreed to judge the Eppies, too. Groan. First I said just 2 books, and they brow-beat me into agreeing to judge 3. I hope they're not long! But most of all, I hope they're good. If they're good books, it won't be so bad.

When it comes to helping other writers, it's almost impossible to say no. Like judging, or critiquing, or giving advice. I love doing that.

Regarding the RWR, I finally started to look at mine last night, then my crazy sister called and all I got to read were the letters. I like to read those sometimes. Women can be so bitchy. Heh. 8^) I really want to read the article about quitting your day job, though.

Danita Cahill said...

Oooo, Karena. What a cool name to come out of a typo, Paty. I like it spelled that way too...

And Paty and Alice, I hope you both get that time carved out today to write.

Like Genene, I'm doing final, final, final revisions on my WIP to ready it for the small list of editors I plan to dash off partials to.

I'm picking it to death. I need to get over the self-doubt hump and just send the dang thing off...

Danita Cahill said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I'm saying no today too. No to grocery shopping and no to the list of phone calls I need to make so I can slice out that wedge of time today to do some editing.

Paty Jager said...

No writing was done here today. I received an e-mail with questions for a guest author thing I agreed to do, and I've been editing all day. I'm hoping by Wednesday to get back to Miner in Petticoats.

Thank you everyone who participated today!

Genene said...

Ah, Paty!

I was in the same place you are up until a couple weeks ago. I've still got lots to do, but have cut back.

Great suggestions, Alice! Paty may not have the time to use these, but I can. I also appreciate Karen's comments about promo opportunities. I can see that would be a trap I could easily fall into. Though I'll be able to promote all three my books at basically the same time because they are connected, so that will give me more bang for the buck, as the saying goes.

I also am becoming better about estimating how much time a project is going to take. Then whatever time I estimate needs to be doubled or tripled, because it always seems to take me longer to do things than I planned! :) Setting priorities also helps, though I'm loving all the different things I do so I didn't want to give anything up either. However, I also realized that my projects and priorities will have an ebb and flow in my life. For the next couple months, I'm not worried about writing much. However, come the first of the year, I'll need to focus once again on writing along with promotion.

Enough rambling from me! Sympathy and energy to you, Paty. Maybe you could tell visitors that you'll be writing for two hours or whatever each morning and at what time so they will have free time to shop or watch a movie or reconnect with friends?

As for the RWR and any other mail. I'm becoming much more selective about what I read. If it is pertinent to one of my goals, I'll invest the time to read it. If not, I'll skim over it or ignore it until later.

Hope you are taking the time to pamper yourself, Paty!

Anonymous said...

Paty-- If you were in school in the 90's then you'd have learned to Just Say No but then I guess that only applied to drugs. LOL

I hope you find a good balance that makes you happy!

And as far as finding anything in the latest RWR, no, I didn't find anything particularly interesting or informative for me this time. Oh well.

Now, go look in the mirror and practice that two letter word.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I, apparantly, have as much trouble saying no as you do, Paty. Witness my latest "yes" into the presidency.

(Go ahead, Alice, gimme a big ol' "L" on the forehead for that one.)

Paty Jager said...

Hi Genene, Yes, I need to start cutting back somewhere. Hopefully after the book signing this Friday and the company goes home, I can get my self feeling like I'm on top of things again.

The hardest thing for me to say no to is the things that gets me exposure. I've being a "blog guest" I'm a featured author on another site, and then putting together some online classes to also, hopefully, generate some more readers. If I didn't edit too it wouldn't be so bad, but I need that to money to keep me with writing money. Oh well, who ever said life is easy!

Piper and Eli, thanks for popping in.

The good news, I finished edits on a full and will give myself this afternoon to work on my own writing. Woo Hoo! Then it's back to edits tomorrow!