I just read this article on Medium: Creative People Say No. The premise is that many prolific creators are not afraid of guarding their time by refusing requests for it. This quote, attributed to Charles Dickens, resonated with me:
“‘It is only half an hour’ — ‘It is only an afternoon’ — ‘It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes — or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometime worry a whole day … Who ever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can’t help it; I must go in my way whether or no.”I don't think it applies only to other people. Saying "no" to yourself is just as important if you are to take that mountain of daily tasks, responsibilities, and hobbies, and carve out enough time to create something of value.
So that's my excuse for not blogging. I've been saying "no" to my brilliant blog post ideas and writing fiction instead.
In addition to my novel, Stars and Other Monsters, I have a short story out. Strangers at a Funeral is about unfamiliar people at death ceremonies. Here's a blurb:
Brandon notices them at his grandpa’s funeral first: a pair of men in sunglasses who nobody seems to know. They’re not family, they're not friends, they’re just … there. No big deal, until they show up again at the next funeral. Drawn into a world of funeral selfies and burial crashers, Brandon needs to know what these strangers want from the dead.It costs 99 cents. If you like the shit I write even a little bit, I'd appreciate if you bought it a whole lot. However, I won't be offended if you say "no."
Only problem is, nobody gives a crap except him, and his school frowns upon skipping classes to watch people get buried. His sanity can’t take many more funerals, and those bulges in the strangers’ coats probably aren’t concealing anything pleasant.
Which means saying no to other stuff. It's nothing personal; I just like fictional characters more than I like you.