Monday, August 28, 2017

10 Excuses: Just say No... to socializing




Saying "No" isn't easy! Especially when you work from home and everyone thinks that you must have all sorts of free time that needs filling. They mean well--they do! But free time? I haven't had free time in over a decade!

So Patricia Bradley and I have come up with a few ways to say "No" when it's hardest.

Do you see any "excuses" that you use? Comment and let us know how you keep your writing time safe--we're always eager to add to our personal lists!


When I first quit working my day job to write, suddenly people thought I was available to do all sorts of things…like go to the movies at the drop of a hat, or lunch, or ferry their children to their sports activities. So, how do you say no to worthwhile activities so you can meet a deadline? Here are 5 excuses I’ve come up with:

1.     If I go to the movies with you and then I write a story that’s similar, people will think I stole the idea, so thanks, but I better pass.

2.     Let me check my calendar. Every week I set up a schedule and pencil in what hours I’ll be writing on my calendar. When someone asks me to do something, I can honestly look at my calendar and say I have an appointment. I don’t have to tell them it's an appointment to write.

3.     I’m so sorry, but I have a deadline and I’m way behind. Most of the time now that I’m contracted, people understand. But I still get the “look” that says but you’re only writing.

4.     I’m expecting a call from my editor. That isn’t a lie. If I don’t get my manuscript in on time, I’ll definitely get that call.

5.     Let me pray about it. It should be my first response but rarely is. When I use it, the person requesting can’t object. That keeps me from automatically saying yes—something I’m apt to do if I don’t consider the cost first. Praying actually helps me to stop and see if it’s something I can do.







1. I'm sorry, but that's during my office hours, and if I don't write like the wind, I'll never make my deadline.  100% true.

2. I'm sorry, I can't go out tonight. If I don't put my son to bed, Mr. Johns won't either! Also 100% true. Mr. Johns is an excellent father, but bedtime? Yeah, our kid walks all over him... ;)

3. I've booked myself solid... I probably should have been less enthusiastic when I was giving my editors dates. But let's be honest--back-to-back books is how an author makes a living! I don't schedule a lot of downtime between books because it affects the bottom line.

4. Can I get back to you when I come up to breathe? Sometimes that's the best answer. And I'm good for that! When I get my manuscript submitted and I'm catching my breath, I call back my friends and schedule some coffee dates. 

5. I would, but I have a date with my husband... ;) And sometimes, Mr. Johns doesn't even know about it, but I have plans for that man after our son is safely tucked in. LOL!  



So what about all of you? How do you guard your writing time to meet your deadlines? 


36 comments:

  1. These are great excuses, ladies. With a full-time day job, I'm not very creative when it comes to excuses to protect my writing time. Usually, I'll go off line and not answer the phone. :)

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    1. Hiding is also effective, Jill! LOL! We do what we must, right?

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    2. I turn my phone and internet off, too, Jill. :-)

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  2. Since most of my friends have fulltime jobs, I don't get many requests during "work hours." :) Now, the pups are another matter. Unless they're sleeping, they generally think it's either play time or snack/meal time!

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    1. And I imagine the pups won't accept excuses, either! :)

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    2. My cat is the same way. For some reason she thinks she's supposed to help me type.

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  3. Nice pictures, ladies. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm my own worst enemy! If I sit down first thing in the morning I'm more likely to ignore distractions.

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  4. I enjoyed reading these inventive excuses very much and plan to use one or two of them. Funny though, when I retired I thought I'd have all the time in the world to write, but too often I'm in conflict with myself- the responsible me is urging "get to work!!" and the slothful me says "maybe after baking some cookies". So I'll have to use your excuses against myself!

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    1. It's amazing how fast a day can go, isn't it? The cookies could be excused, though, if they're giving you a sugar blitz to write on. ;)

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    2. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to saying no. Too often I end up saying yes and then have to make up for lost time.

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  5. I haven't mastered "no," either, and probably won't. Time goes so fast and I really don't want to miss anything. Makes for really long days, but most of them are a lot of fun.

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    1. Sounds like you are making the most of it!

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    2. There is so much to do and see that saying no is hard! But you're right--the days are a lot of fun.

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  6. I connected with the Patricia B's comment about being contracted. That gets me a lot more respect--and time!--around home and from 'out there'. but there's still that pall of guilt that hangs over me as housework and loved ones are ignored.

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    1. I've recently had to start prioritizing differently, giving my family much more and my friends much less. It's tough to balance it all, isn't it?

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    2. I'm afraid not doing house work never makes me feel guilty. ;-) But neglecting my family does.

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  7. Such a relevant post for anyone who runs a business at home, no matter what the field. I started dealing with those questions in my twenties when my kids were young and in school. It was assumed I could volunteer for all sorts of things. My pat answer became and remains, "That's a regular work day for me," or "Sorry, those are my work hours." I haul out the deadlines when people still don't get it. Sorry to say, this gets worse when you're retirement age and it's assumed you're available during the day. I mean, what else do we have to do? Ha! I'm thinking that as more and more boomers keep working or pursuing solo businesses in their 60s and 70s our type of schedule will seem increasingly normal. That's my hope, anyway!

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    1. I'm grateful for Facebook that lets me keep up with friends even when I'm too busy to get together properly. "Sorry, those are my work hours" is a good answer. To the point. I like it.

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    2. I love the sorry those are my work hours! Will have to use it.

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  8. I guess I'm more blunt. I've always said: I quit working a day job to be a writer, and writing is like 2 full-time jobs.

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    1. I'll take a page from your book, Roz! I do tell people I retired from a part-time job to go to work full time.

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    2. But blunt is effective, Roz! I'm starting to get more blunt, and it works much better. :)

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  9. I love this! I'm going to use all of these. And I need it because my family is always saying, you're not really doing anything, just writing. Thanks so much!!!

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    1. "Just writing!" Ouch. That's liable to make a writer grumpy.

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    2. 'Just' is a bad word, isn't it? ;)

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  10. I still work full time and write at night when everyone is asleep so i will longingly hope I get to uses these excuses one day.

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    1. So you're doing TWO full time jobs! That's a LOT of work!

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  11. I'm taking notes. It's the people I live with who don't seem to see me typing on a computer as "busy." I didn't start writing until my kids were in high school, so I was that neighbor who babysat during emergencies and took bunches of kids to soccer practice. Maybe I trained the family too well that I was always available.

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    1. Never too late to send a different message, I suppose! Typing=busy. I have my family pretty well trained. That said, I can't WAIT for school to start again so I can get some uninterrupted time to myself for writing. It's bliss!

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  12. Great post! A couple months ago, I was having dinner with friends and they were planning an outing for the weekend before my deadline. I said I was sorry but I couldn't make it because I had to work. My friend said, "Oh...did you get a real job?" Seriously, true story. I use lots of excuses but it seems like often unless a person is or has been self-employed in some capacity they really don't understand.

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    1. OMG, Carol. I hate that. And it gets said to me too.

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    2. That's a terrible thing to say. I have so much respect for what writers do. It's hard work!!

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  13. Love this post! Super helpful and I've used a few of those too!

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  14. I can relate to this post. When I quit working secularly back in 2009, friends and family would call me during the day to chat. It felt like they assumed I was just sitting around the house waiting for their calls, LOL. I think many of them still think that. So admittedly I don't answer my phone when I'm busy.

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