The Freedom of Saying No

Monday, November 11, 2013

Photo Credit: sboneham (Flickr/Creative Commons)

"Write down your NOs!"

That's the message that was delivered to me last night in a dream.

It was a strange dream. I was sick from stress and from eating food that was bad for me (which I always do when I'm stressed). I was really, really sick. As I was puking my guts out some guy (that I obviously knew in the dream, but that doesn't exist in real life) was holding back my hair and telling me, "You have to write down your NOs!"

When I woke up, I was confused. I had no idea what this meant. I still don't. But as I lay in bed this morning mulling this over I was reminded of something a woman said at a blogging conference I attended last month. She said: You have to say "No" to make room for the "Hell yes!"

The #bloglikecrazy challenge has help me realized that the "Hell yes" I no longer have room for is my own writing! I've really enjoyed blogging on a daily basis, but the only reason I've stuck with it is to encourage the other women participating. I'm not doing this because I enjoy it -- even though I do.

Over the past two and a half years as I've been building See Jane Write I've been neglecting writing for myself. I've been so busy encouraging other women to go after their writing goals, I haven't been going after mine. Sure, launching See Jane Write Magazine was a huge accomplishment, but I have no time to promote that project and there's so much more I want to do.

But I still don't know what it means to write down my NOs. And I'm certainly not going to ditch See Jane Write.

I have realized that, other than exercise, there is nothing in my life that I do for myself. And since I don't have children I'm not sure how in the world this happened!

My blog, See Jane Write and See Jane Write Magazine are all for the women writers I hope to encourage. My full-time job as a teacher, of course, is all about helping my students. Even my freelance gigs are no longer for me as I have to use the extra cash to help out family members in need.

But starting today I'm going to make my writing goals and writing for myself more of a priority and say "No" to anything that gets in the way of that.

This may come off as selfish, but if my life is so out of balance that I'm dreaming about stress-induced vomiting something's got to give.

Do you make your writing a priority in your life? Do you spend time writing for yourself? 


  1. I definitely don't spend as much time writing as I'd like, but somehow, I feel as if I spend too much time doing it. It is so hard to find a balance.

  2. Don't feel that this is being selfish! I have a hard time saying no. I'm trying to do it more often and choose to do what I want, or what I need to do, versus what I feel I should do. It's difficult! But focusing on what we're truly passionate about, or what will make us happy, is what's healthiest and best for us all. (Not that we shouldn't do things for others, we just need to pick and choose wisely!)