mastering the art of saying “no”

today i stared at a blank wall until the lights appeared in the darkness. have you ever tried that before? try it with different colors on the wall.

no, but seriously people, i must get back to the art and practice and dare i say it–the “D” word. Discipline. that’s what every writer needs and what the good ones have in abundance. Discipline.

earlier today i was reading an article in Writer’s Digest about an accomplished author named Anne Lamott. She has at least 13 titles of books and WD sat her down to talk with her about her writing life.

When WD asked the question What’s the most positive thing  you could tell writers today? her response was “That it really matters that they write. It’s very inconvenient when you start to say no to other life obligations, but no is a complete statement…”

Wait, hold it Ms Lamott. The  hairs on the back of my neck are standing at attention. she’s talking about saying “no” to other life obligations. She’s talking about when a sick relative calls and asks you if you can come over and keep them company you say “no, auntie, I’m on deadline and I can’t come over; perhaps some other time.” or you cut your hours back at work or starting taking more frequent ‘personal’ days at work so you can spend more time working on the manuscript, the draft, the edits.

when the phone rings you do not rise to answer it, when the dog needs a walk, you let him poop on the floor, you don’t shower regularly, you haven’t seen a dentist in 7  years, you stop going to church…all in the name of cutting back your other obligations so you can write. Or what about saying “no” to a 16-city tour because you are working on a project and cannot be disturbed Miss Lamott.

is the secret in all this simply mastering the art of saying “NO”? Anne suggests that “no” is a “complete statement”. I’m sitting with that and thinking about what that means for a minute.

this blog is about my writing life, and i regret to say that as a writer, i have not mastered the fine art of refusing–saying “no”. In fact, I find that i have become more impulsive that ever before. My senses are alive and I feel like i want to experience everything i can. Yet,  i have not had much time to write and i am still waaaaaaaay behind on the work of putting the book together. here’s what happening:

i am working on a piece about how the grace of God functions in our lives and how what looks like bad news is good news in disguise. Particularly, I am thinking about Jeremiah and why he had to die, and why he died the way he did. What was God sparing in his life, our lives, by taking him away? Did we lose a good person or did God spare us from having to suffer at Jeremiah’s hands? Was he an axe-murderer or the next president of the United States?

so i will work a little more on this as my mother’s day gift to myself.

also i have some new ideas on how to approach the story I must write about my life.

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