Time Management Tip 8: Just Say No

Publish date:

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.”


Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.