Skip to main content

Time Management Tip 8: Just Say No

Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Daysby Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.

Why do so many of us have trouble just saying no? Because most of us have been programmed to say yes, to be a people pleaser. Usually the problem is that we are afraid of conflict. We think, “What will this person do or say if I don’t help out?”

Image placeholder title

Well, if you can’t stand conflict in life, then you sure won’t be able to write conflict on the page. Conflict is what stories are made of, so get used to it. Enjoy it. When writers can’t stand to do bad things to their characters, they usually are terrified of conflict. These writers rarely have successful careers. Be assertive!

This tip is also all about sticking to your guns, because once you say no to someone, you have to stand firm. If you backpedal at all, you will lose all momentum for saying no again in the future. Be true to your word and to yourself. If you say no, it means no.

Also be careful of maybes. Sometimes we feel guilty for saying no, so we instead decide to say maybe to get out of an uncomfortable situation. Don’t do it. Maybes only lead other people on. It leaves them thinking there is hope and that they can wear you down. It also shows them that you devalue your other commitments and aren’t sure of yourself. Always say no firmly and directly. If you really feel bad, say, “No, not until next month when I am finished with a current commitment. Please feel free to check in with me next month.”

My Long, Winding, and Very Crooked Writing Journey

My Long, Winding, and Very Crooked Writing Journey

Every writer’s publishing story is different. Here, author Sharon M. Peterson shares her journey from writing to publishing.

Jeff Adams | Writer's Digest Indie Author Spotlight

Jeff Adams: Publishing Advice for Indie Authors

In this Indie Author Profile, romance novelist Jeff Adams shares his path to independent publishing and his advice for others considering that path.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Writer's Digest July/Aug 2022

The WD Interview: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The bestselling author of Mexican Gothic shares her approach to world-building, character development, and what she’s learned about the business of writing in this interview from the July/August 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

Thinking of starting your own newsletter? Let freelance writer Sian Meades-Williams lay out 9 pros and cons of writing a newsletter.

How to Write a Compelling Premise for a Thriller

How to Create a Compelling Premise for a Thriller

Learn how to create a compelling premise for a thriller or mystery novel by asking a simple question and tying it to a specific circumstance to set the stage for a thrilling read.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Plan

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Plan

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters make a plan.

3 Tips for Writing Dystopian Young Adult Fiction

3 Tips for Writing Dystopian Young Adult Fiction

If you've ever heard it said that there's no new way to write a story, let author Julian R. Vaca tell you otherwise. Here, he shares 3 tips for writing dystopian young adult fiction to help silence our inner critics.

Rimma Onoseta: On Trusting the Process of Revision

Rimma Onoseta: On Trusting the Process of Revision

Author Rimma Onoseta discusses how seeing other Black female authors on bookshelves encouraged her to finish writing her contemporary YA novel, How You Grow Wings.

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover Reveal

Writer's Digest is excited to announce our Sept/Oct 2022 issue featuring our Annual Literary Agent Roundup, an interview with NYT-bestselling YA horror novelist Tiffany D. Jackson, and articles about writing sinister stories.