I have a hard time saying no, and I suspect I'm not the only writer out there with this problem. We are stereotyped as being procrastinators and chronically late on deadlines, but often the problem is something else entirely: We find it too difficult to say no, even when we know saying yes is going to overload us.
Over the past year, since I made some changes to my life and started freelancing seriously again, I've come to realize how important it is for me to get better at saying no. I don't say yes because I'm afraid of saying no; I just fail to be honest with myself about whether I want to say yes.
I think I'm a pretty strong, independent woman, but the truth is I still get myself into pickles because I feel obligated to help people. Whether it's a friend who needs a favor, one of my families when they're in a bind, or one of my freelance clients, I have a hard time saying, "No, I don't have time for that, I'm sorry."
I mention the other examples -- friends and my babysitting/nanny work -- because even though that's not about freelancing, it still affects my freelancing. It's all income, but I tend to accept babysitting even when it complicates my schedule unnecessarily, and even when I know I won't back off my freelance work to account for my additional time commitments.
I'm equally as bad about accepting freelance work. A client gives me a big project or asks for a rush job, and I find it hard to say no, even if I know I'll find it difficult to complete the work in time. The result is that I sometimes have to choose between missed sleep or missed deadlines (or split the difference).
Like I said, this is something that I've become increasingly aware, over the past year, that I have to change. Today I practiced saying no. It was hard, but it had to be done, and I feel pretty good about my decision.
What about you? Do you find this difficult, too, and if so how do you try to overcome it?
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The freelance writer and the art of saying no
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