Why Is It So Hard To Say NO?

Today is November 1st. And today I started a challenge. To write a book within a month. It’s a bit like NaNoWriMo, about which I’ve written before, except I’m not writing a novel. I’m writing a memoir, and along with my two writing colleagues, we are each committed to writing 1,000 words a day.

I’ve been preparing the ground for a while now, i.e. thinking about it and writing notes, downloading something called Scrivener. Yesterday I looked at my diary for November to work out what was going to get in my way. I have whole-day commitments on 4th, 7th and 11th and a half day on 16th. So that’s 3.5 days when I will have to make up my lost writing time at weekends instead. Fair enough, it is a challenge after all. And challenges are supposed to be, well – challenging, aren’t they?

But I’m thinking today that The Big U has a right old sense of humour when it comes to testing our resolve because since I did that diary-checking work yesterday, less than 24 hours ago, I have had four (FOUR!) further requests for diary time – to go to a meeting on 9th (half a day), and for Skype calls with a much beloved friend and from someone I don’t know, a businesswoman in distress.   And then last night, very late, I got an invitation to coffee this morning. In view of the impending lost time, I had to get up at 6 a.m. which is well before my normal working hours these days, gap year remember?

So I said yes to the meeting on the 9th and yes to the coffee this morning, and pushed away the two Skype conferences – for now. I will make time for them later in the month when I’ve got this writing habit under my belt. They say it takes 21 days, but I’m allowing for a lot longer with this writing thing, up to 18 months in fact.

Why is it so hard to say No?

By which I mean WHY IS IT SO HARD TO SAY NO?   Oh, she’s shouting now.

Is it just me? I love all these people and they have wishes I’d like to fulfil, and these are outings which will result in fabulous blog fodder, certainly in enjoyable life experiences. And I like to feel loved and needed and wanted as much as the next person. But I find saying no the hardest challenge of all. What’s to be done with me?

Sometimes, when it comes right down to the wire, and the choice is between you and me and I have no other resources or choices, that’s (relatively) easy. It absolutely, positively has to be me. No question.

But when it comes to a choice between my 1,000 words a day and your needs, I get a bit wobbly. I say no, but I feel bad. And that’s not good.   Is this just a woman thing, or are there men out there who struggle with this too?   Boys, do you want to be a Nice Girl too?

Any tips for saying No and feeling OK about it please?

I do remember a little homily I read in SHE Magazine when I was a child, and that’s saying a lot because I remember almost nothing from my childhood. It is this:

If in doubt, say no, because no is more easily changed to yes than yes is to no.

Rock on. I’ve found my inspiration for the day and I’ll give it a go.   You?

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One Response to “Why Is It So Hard To Say NO?”

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  1. Lynne Lee says:

    Beautiful! I too have committed to completing my book in time to be published before Christmas, and like you have many calls on my time, and because i’m a woman with a heart sometimes find it hard to say no.

    “If in doubt, say no, because no is more easily changed to yes than yes is to no.”

    A brilliant piece of advice which I am planning to use starting today.

    Thanks Judith on many fronts. I’m glad our paths have crossed again


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