Not only is it okay to say no, but its essential that you say no … and as often as possible. You’re a full time writer. You’d gone years working full time at a day job and writing whenever you can eke out a few minutes here and a few minutes there. Well, now you’re a published author and able to quit that day job in order to write full time and fulfill that dream most authors have.
But suddenly, you’re fair game. The neighbor has a sick kid and she needs to be at work. Would you mind watching little Timmy for a few hours? After all, you’re home all day. You’re not doing anything important. You sputter out about deadlines, revisions, edits, but that’s all lost on deaf ears as said neighbor prances out the door, confident that she’d found the perfect solution to her dilemma. Or there’s a day where the schools are closed, be it a single day or a week for Spring Break. Not only do you have your own children home from school, but it seems that every neighbor kid has decided to make your house their base of operations with the blessings of their parents. After all, you’re not doing anything.
Or there’s old Mr. Smith who needs a lift to his doctors appointment. Won’t take long. But between the initial transportation, the waiting time and the return journey, you just burned up an entire morning that could have been used working on your book. But that’s okay. You’re not doing anything.
Now, personally, I’m not a stay at home writer, but I do work part time. Full days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with Tuesday and Thursdays off. Still, I can imagine the potential of family, friends and neighbors taking advantage to our stay at home status. It may start out slowly, a day here and there, but it can accelerate quickly, until you’re finding it impossible to get any writing done.
This is where you gotta learn the value of saying “no”. You have to make it clear to family and friends that this is your job. The job that brings in your income and puts food on your table. You don’t have time to play chauffeur to Mr. Smith or to watch little Timmy when he’s sick. You need to put in eight hour days. Exactly like that full time day job outside the home.
So … this is a question for those full time authors out there. Do you find yourself caught in this position, and if so, what did you have to do to extricate yourself from it?