Saying no is one of the most challenging tasks of being a writer. We’re often asked to volunteer, bend, stretch, and give of our abilities to others. Unfortunately, the requests are often followed up with guilt-lines to persuade us to edit, speak, teach, write, mentor for free, and the list goes on. This might be you.
Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts here: a willingness to serve is a positive trait for all of us. But too many times we say “yes” because we feel it’s our obligation to respond positively to all opportunities instead of reflecting on prior commitments and weighing the work involved with our schedules. The art of saying “no” takes guts, planning, and determination.
The problem of always saying “yes” can affect us negatively. We cross over the boundary of willingness to resentment, and then it shows in our work.
1. The writer’s manuscripts are late or are written poorly. The repercussions of this practice could result in developing an unprofessional reputation and losing credibility along with future contracts. Publishers have schedules, and writers who toss in the wrench of delivering late does not enhance the author-publisher relationship.
2. The writer sacrifices nutritionally sound eating, exercising, and quality sleeping hours. As a result, the writer’s physical health suffers. Our brains are like babies, and they need nurturing.
3. The writer’s mental health spirals downhill, which means a mix of negative feelings and a poor self-image. The writer can also develop a poor attitude that reflects in our relationships with others.
How can we graciously decline a request without feeling stressed, guilty and avoid those who have solicited our help?
First decide if the request is an enrichment opportunity. Writers, this means predetermine how many free events can be done per year. If our response is to move forward, then we go with our faith or convictions. But if we feel this isn’t a project for us to participate in, the following potential responses can be used as a gracious decline. Our goal is to be truthful and to offer well-thought out solutions. Important—never offer another writer/speaker’s name without first checking for availability.
1. Thank you for thinking of me. I’m honored that you’ve considered me for your event. My calendar is presently filled. Perhaps I can recommend another writer/speaker?
2. Thank you for the opportunity to assist in your plans/project/event. I’m currently on deadline and will need to decline. Would you like for me to make a recommendation?
3. Thank you for taking the time to contact me. Although I’m not currently taking on additional projects, I’d appreciate your contacting me in the future. Would you like a recommendation?
How do you graciously say no? Share your script in the comments.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; the Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Her latest book, High Treason, releases in February.
Connect with her on Twitter.