Requests for our time and talent come from everywhere: work, family, friends, neighbors, school, faith corners, writing groups, etc. The scope ranges from the minor “can you walk my dog” all the way to the mind-numbing “will you please lead this committee for the rest of your natural life?” We need to be thoughtful about our Yes. Each one will take away from our family, home and work life, which then ultimately robs our writing life. Every yes has a cost. It behooves us to filter out the spam, and make sure we say yes to the right things.
As writers, we are seen by the outside world as available to be tapped for these requests. We are the 1-800-HELPER kiosk, or the shopping baskets where the world dumps in society’s work assignments. Everyone assumes it will get done merely because they asked. Non-writers simply don’t understand how we work. We write at home, coffee shops, co-working spaces. We look SO AVAILABLE, ready to grant all wishes for our time. The better we are at a mindful ‘yes,’ the more we can devote to our writerly pursuits.
The world needs our voices NOW. It needs our outrage, humor, activism, inspiration and the escape we provide. It needs our self-reflection and our connection. We contain valuable stories and we need to be mindful of where we give away our time to other requests.
Keep in mind this irony of society: when you say ‘yes’ frequently, there is strong, heady praise for you always stepping up; your sacrifices are cheered and then expected often. But society is also the first one to slice you a little if your life starts to show signs of neglect. Accept requests that matter to you, ones you’re good at, tasks you love, and truly have time for. But be clear on your boundaries and never apologize for them. Honor yourself and don’t let the Constant Yes bleed your writerly life dry.
To hear more, join Sheri at the following workshop:
Time to Honor the Writing with Sheri Hoffmann
Thursday, November 8, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
The Marin Writers Nest
305 Montecito Dr. Suite A
Sheri Hoffmann is a writer, public speaker, and creator of the “Contented Yes” workshop series. Sheri has presented her seminars to audiences in Benicia, Napa, and Mill Valley. In addition to performing in the 2015 production of Listen To Your Mother San Francisco and at Lit Crawl 2016, she also writes about the ridiculous, the mundane and a variety of social issues. She is a fierce advocate for writers’ voices and very protective of their writing time.
Sheri is married with two children, and lives far away in Benicia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org to consult with you or speak to your group.