In which we begin again

ImageThis is a picture of my office door. It’s also largely how I managed to write The Devil You Know in a house I share with four children and a dog, while I was working a full-time job. Any other parents out there know what I’m talking about? It’s the pre-emptive answer to all possible questions and needs: Can you make me a sandwich? (No.) Can you drive me to mall? (No.) Can you help me find my other shoe? (No.)

Any two year-old has already learned  that NO is the most powerful word, but it somehow took me 37 years to re-learn that lesson — and use it to my advantage. (I share the house with my husband, too, of course, but he’s a brilliant and supportive guy, so the sign is not really aimed at him. Or, at least a whole lot less.)

The power of NO comes in using it to define your boundaries, give yourself guilt-free permission, and defend your own positive time (to the death! Okay, maybe that’s too much.To the pain?)

I’ve been thinking  a lot about this in the last week, partially because I noticed articles like this LinkedIn piece making the rounds. Learning to say No is a valuable skill. More salient was Jonathan Ball’s great post about scheduling writing time rather than just trying to “find it”.

IMG_0006All this came across my screen at the right time, when I’d been gearing up to start work on a new project. So the NO sign is back up on the office door today. (Full disclosure: I’ve been working solidly, on schedule, for a week or two now. So it’s time to let the rest of the household know.)

The only difference this time around? I’ve made a second sign, for the inside of the office door. It’s the sign that tells the writer YES.

3 thoughts on “In which we begin again

  1. Pingback: Praying to The God of Writing | Dr. Jonathan Ball | Writing the Wrong Way

  2. Pingback: These are 11 of My Favourite Things | Jonathan Ball, PhD | Writing the Wrong Way

  3. Pingback: Praying for Permission from the God of Writing – Jonathan Ball, PhD

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