I haven’t posted here for quite a while but that wasn’t because I forgot about my blog. I’ve allowed other people to access my writing time in a number of ways.
There are 24 hours in a day. That’s the same for everyone. After that, things vary depending on personal commitments. Whatever they are, in each 24 house there is a finite amount of time to devote to writing.
I have a couple of days at home each week. True, I need to fit in various jobs to keep the house and its occupants clothed and fed. Theoretically I have 3 hours to write on each of those days — plus any time I can find on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Mr Prue supports my wanting to write. However, it comes down to me to guard that time which — theoretically — can be used for writing.
Why do I keep saying ‘theoretically’? It’s all connected with the title of this piece.
Last night Mr Prue and I went along to a meeting of one of the local societies we belong to. There’s always a talk; last night there was also a buffet afterwards and a chance to socialise. As I was leaving, I was asked if I could ‘just deliver a few booklets’. Then there was mention of ‘invoices’ and a bit later of ‘keeping a record of sales’ and ‘phoning round to check stock levels’.
At that point, alarm bells rang — but only faintly. It was late, I was relaxed after a pleasant evening, I’d had some good food and a glass of beer.
What I should have said was ‘No, I’m not able to do that’.
But as I mentioned above, it was late, I was relaxed after a pleasant evening, I’d had some good food and a glass of beer. In the face of gentle but persistent persuasion, I agreed to do something that I knew would eat into my
spare writing time.
This morning I spent time — writing time! — composing an email to say I withdrew my offer of help. This was accompanied by much grinding of teeth because had I said ‘No’ in the first place I could have got on with my novel! The only good thing about writing the email was the time it will save me in the coming months.
However, saying ‘No’ is not enough. Many people do not take ‘No’ for an answer and keep asking. Psychological research shows that while it is relatively easy to say ‘No’ the first time, it becomes more difficult to keep saying ‘No’ in the face of repeated requests.
But that’s what I need to do, to guard those precious writing hours. Say ‘No’ and keep saying ‘No’.
If anyone accuses me of being selfish I have but one thing to say. How selfish is the other person in asking me to do something which is not in my best interests? (I’m talking about everyday, world-won’t-end-if-it-isn’t-done things here, not life-and-death situations).
Thinking about it this morning, I’ve been saying ‘Yes’ when ‘No’ would have been more sensible, quite a lot recently — possibly because I’ve been tired. That and not checking out exactly what I’m letting myself in for before commiting myself.
So I need to be clear what my priorities are; and to make sure I put my priorities first. No on else is going to see my priorities as more important that theirs. Quite why I see others’ priorities as more important than mine I’m not sure.
I need to stay vigilant — otherwise my novel will never get written!