You can say no, Mom

On Wednesday, I told you what I would be writing for the next twelve weeks … well some of it. I also have novel editing to do, and critiquing and preparing my submissions for critique. Oh yes, and writing these fascinating blog posts. What I didn’t mention is what I won’t be doing in my little writer’s world.

The title of this post is what one of my sons always says to me before he asks me to do something for him. Obviously, I have a hard time saying no, and then, of course, I get overwhelmed trying to be all things to all people.

After I listed my goals and the tasks needed to reach them, it occurred to me that something was missing. I needed a strategy for getting to the place where I would have the time to perform those tasks. Part of what we’re supposed to learn in the Creativity Workshop is better time management, so I took my first steps.

I’ve unsubbed from more than half the blogs I’ve been following. Agent blogs are among those nixxed … so if one posts something spectacular please let me know. I’ve also weeded out a few more to which I no longer even remember the reason for subscribing. Rest assured, I stayed subscribed to and will be reading all your blogs, and commenting as often as time permits.

Tweetdeck will no longer be running while I write/edit/critique. I will check Twitter only when I take a break—a real break—not whenever it occurs to me I might be missing the Tweet of the century. But I will do my best to continue ReTweeting the blog posts I feel should be … ideally, from a button on your blog (hint hint.)

I will also, keep my nose out of all the files of unfinished stories that have no use in the workshop or for submission. And I will record any new ideas not pertaining to either of those pursuits in a notebook and/or Word file … and then forget them until twelve weeks from now.

Ahhh! I feel less stressed already.

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]

30 thoughts on “You can say no, Mom

  1. I love it! “The tweet of the century” – isn’t that how it feels sometimes? It sounds like you have a brilliant plan and you’ve spurred me to look at my time management again …


  2. Good ideas, Linda! I agree, brilliant plan here. It can be very hard to say no, especially to fun things. I’d already decided to try not to be on Tweetdeck for the hours I set aside for the workshop, but the specifics you came up with here have helped me to set more boundaries with it (checking it on REAL breaks only)(carrying this habit over into all writing/editing/critiquing, not just for workshop hours). Glad you’re feeling less stressed already! 🙂

    OH! I’ve been meaning to ask, how do you add the ‘retweet’ button at the bottom?


    1. I’ve been lazy, Kayla, and let my “socializing” steal away my writing time. So, I’m cracking the whip. 😀

      Adding the retweet button is easily accomplished with a shortcode added to the html for each post. In your Dashboard, click the HTML tab when you’re done writing the post and, at the bottom, paste the following code but substitute your actual blog name between the quotes:

      [tweetmeme source= “your_blog_name” only_single=false]


  3. Thank the stars that I haven’t started tweeting yet! That would be one more distraction to add to an ever growing list. Kudos to you for pulling back and setting down some boundries.

    My biggest distraction is the internet, then the child still at home, the hubs, the dogs, the garden… well you get the point. I can’t neglect the family, pets, or growing plants. They need nourishment and love to survive. What I can do it pull the plug on the internet. I’ve set up our second computer outside the hub of our connection, turned off the wireless, and made that my creativity area. The place where I will write. I’ll continue to perform the business aspects of writing inside my office where I’m connected to the world. But my creative time needs to be isolated from that enviornment. I’ve also enrolled my son in a summer online class. This way he will be hogging the internet at least a few hours a day. (always have a back up plan) 🙂


    1. Sounds like a good plan, Trista. I have an old non-networked computer in the guest room that I think I’ll work on. I adore the tranquil pale, pale aqua of that room anyway. It should be conducive to creativity.


  4. I think you’re doing the best thing possible in stepping back and letting your writing come first. It’s so easy to get caught up in socializing, in tweets and blogs and Facebook and all that other stuff, that you can forget about the whole reason you’re doing that sociailizing for.

    I didn’t even know you could add a “Tweet” button to your posts. Fascinating. Does this work for blogspot as well?


      1. I hear you on that. I have to be careful about laying in my bed. I get caught up in the television or a book and somehow the whole day can slide away without my notice, especially if I end up falling asleep.

        Thanks. Will look into trying to make that work.


  5. I am prone to wasting the time I have as well – and it only boils down to 1-2hrs a day. I really can’t afford to waste that! We get so used to constantly being able to access updates and information that it can seem strange to cut yourself off from them. Sometimes, thats the best thing we can do though. I’m actually looking forward to feeling less like I ‘just have to’ know whats going on at any given time.


    1. Maybe we’ll gain some unexpected peripheral benefits from this workshop, J.C. I’m just so scattered in my work habits, that I can’t help but think I have to gain some focus from this. But you have your own special deadline, so I wish you much focus and a flood of words in your 1-2 hours. 🙂


      1. Thank you Linda 🙂
        Focus can be so hard – I think part of that comes back to being a mother/wife thing, so many things constantly needing our attention that it can be hard to set aside that time for ourselves. I really do hope that a little focus, a little stepping back from those other things, is a natural result of this workshop. We should never feel guilty for our need to have a relationship with words.


  6. Smart idea, Linda. It is so difficult to keep up with everything. After all we’re writers and it doesn’t make sense to let our writing go in order to follow all the tweets and all the blog posts, etc….. As you say it’s overwhelming to try and be all things to all people.

    Time management is a problem for me as well. These past few weeks I’ve been trying to visit my regular blogs as often as I can but I have fallen behind.
    There’s a new story nudging me and I am determined to make sure the writing comes first. I’ll wait to see what next week brings..


  7. I curbed my internet use about a month ago. I’m getting more done and I’m so glad I did. I’m weeks behind in visiting agent blogs, so I don’t know if you’ve missed anything or not. I just checked out Query Shark, though. I can’t go too long without the evil shark attacks.


  8. I think time management is the hardest, cruelest task for writers. It’s one of the reasons I only blog once a week or every other week. Thanks for reminding me, we’re not robots. It’s enough to have our hand in multiple pies of social interaction. The only thing we need to master in the long run is – our writing. For without that…all the rest is moot.



  9. Your plan sounds great, Linda. I understand that urge not to miss a thing on Twitter, too. But, Jane Friedman posts weekly tweets not to be missed, and so does Elizabeth S. Craig.

    You have so much writing that awaits you – in a Woo!Hoo! kind of way. I can’t wait to hear more about it all. Enjoy!


    1. I knew about Jane’s round-up, but not Elizabeth’s, so thanks for the info, Christi.

      Shhhh … I’m trying to forget about “so much writing.” 🙂 Today I have reading and critique, and a family birthday celebration to contend with. Same schedule for tomorrow. And then I have to start researching poetry forms … why on earth did I choose that for my first goal???? 😯


  10. Bravo! Well done! We can all learn a great deal from the courage and commitment it takes to lighten the load. I’ve learned a lot, though still not enough, about doing this over the last 18 months. More to come from me, but I eagerly await the results of your pruning process.

    Have an awesome weekend, Linda. 🙂


  11. Haha, this was a great post. I’m looking forward to the workshop, stress and all, but a strategy to get through it sounds like a good plan!


    1. The last couple days, I’ve practiced staying off Twitter and it’s harder than I thought. I’m so used to clicking over every few minutes. The only solution, for me, is to write on the computer in the guest room because it’s not connected to the internet. I need a muse with a whip, I think. 🙂


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