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Just Say No

No, this isn't a lecture on drugs. LOL

I had a discussion (many discussions, in fact) with an author friend of mine about how people in my life view my writing career. Or rather, in their opinion, my lack of career.

The fact that I'm at home seems to give others the impression that I'm free and available to do things for them. I can't tell you how many times someone in my family has called me to see if I can, say, go hang out at their house to wait for a utility person because they have to work. They think it's no big deal for me to go hang out at their house from 8am-2pm waiting for the cable dude. Or watch their kids when it's a school holiday, but they don't get it off of work.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mind helping out, but when these requests came more and more often, it started to tick me off. What I do seems to be of less value than what they do. If someone asked what I did that day, and I responded that I finished a difficult chapter, I'd get "Oh is that all?" as a response. That always gets my blood boiling. LOL

It took me a long time to be able to say no to people. I like to help out and make others happy, but I realized that by doing that as often as I was, I was doing myself a disservice. I put my writing on the back burner for everyone else, as if it isn't as valuable as what they do. I was reinforcing their opinions by saying yes to each of their requests.

Is it easy saying no? Definitely not. However, I've made the decision that writing is my career, not a hobby. I have to start treating it as such, because if I don't, how on earth can I expect anyone else to?


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Lisabet Sarai said...

I've heard this often from full-time stay-at-home writers, Jessica. You've got to treat is as a job, which it is. Other people find that hard to understand.

Anyway, keep writing regardless!


Crissy said...

Good Post! I agree with you. Before I went back to work full-time I was always getting asked to run errands or babysit.

My daughters ten so she can entertain herself when I'm deep in a chapter but my sisters kids are so young they need your attention all the time. She just didn't understand.

Now I've had to cut down on what I do in the evenings and weekends so I can keep up on my writing. Then they ask: Well what did you do all weekend? When I say write they are just like OH.

LOL! You keep up the good work!

Jude Mason said...

Jessica, I just read your post and right from word one, I was nodding my head. This is a job, but because it's not a regular, Monday to Friday, pay is every second Friday, it's not a job people seem to respect or understand. Like you, this is my job. I'm an author. Tell people that and they want a book. For FREE, now! WTF is that?

Saying no is very difficult, but it's something we have to do, and if friends and family aren't willing to try to understand, then it's their problem, not ours.

I'm really glad I stopped by to see what had been posted. A wonderful post, thank you!