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Venting

space geezer
Sorry, but I need to vent.

I am being nibbled to death by mice.

And this morning a elephant landed on me.

*gurgle*

There are not enough hours in the day. There are not enough days in the week. There are not enough weeks in the year. Sometimes it feels as if I work all day every day, only to wind up further behind by the time the sun goes down, as more mice come swarming through the cracks and more elephants come lumbering through the doors.

I really really really need to learn to say No.

No, I will not come to your convention, thanks for asking.

No, I will not read your manuscript/ galley proof/ book, but good luck with that.

No, I will not write a story for your anthology, I am a year behind writing stories for my own anthologies.

No, I will not write a preface/ introduction/ foreword for your book.

No, I will not do an interview.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

Such a simple word. Such a short word. Why do I have such trouble uttering it?

Once I give my word to attend a con/ write a story/ do an interview, I feel honor bound to deliver, to follow through, to make good my promise. But I give my word too often and too easily, I need to realize that. I do, I do, I DO realize that... on an intellectual level, but maybe not in my gut. And so while my brain is saying, "you can't do that, you do not have the time," my lips are saying, "sure, love to, sounds great."

I need to remember my mantra. One page at a time. One word at a time. One chore at a time. You cannot do everything today. Put out the biggest fire, the rest will still be burning tomorrow. No. No. No.

*sigh*

Thank you for listening. This too will pass. Tomorrow it won't seem so overwhelming.

Excuse me, I need to go step on some mice.

End of venting.

Comments

( 127 comments )
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daisyberisha
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
go with the flow
Just do whatever you want to do! :)
superscienceser
Feb. 27th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Re: go with the flow
Best course of action there, I certainly don't Disagree. You can't rush art, too.
shykat20
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC)
*hugs*

Don't forget to take time for yourself too. Everyone wants to read what you are writing, but it won't be as wonderful if you are not there to witness the reactions.
laurasue
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:22 am (UTC)
Sounds like you need to be less of a Stark and more of a Lannister once in a while.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. We love you man, and we'll continue to love you if you say no once in a while. Take care of yourself!
eternalneophyte
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
Just let it go and remember that saying no doesn't mean that you don't care about the situation, it's just not something that you have the time to commit to. Better to choose a few things that you CAN do without adding stress to your life than spreading yourself so thin that you cannot give each thing the attention it deserves.

Sometimes saying no is the right thing to do.
eowyn
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
Perhaps instead of saying either 'yes' or 'no' to people at once, you could say 'let me think about it!' instead! That would give you some time to decide if it's a project or event you'd really like to be part of or attend, or if it's something you're just being polite about. :)
bibliofile
Feb. 26th, 2012 02:46 am (UTC)
I was reliably (and firmly) informed by an eight-year-old, once, that in New Zealand "maybe" means "yes." So you might want to remember that when dealing with kiwis.

OTOH, do you need a giant poster of Nancy Reagan saying, "Just say NO"? Or T-shirts for the folks you see every day? Because that would be easy to do.

Meanwhile, best of luck with it all....
roaming
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC)
I usually call it "nibbled to death by ducks" or "the death of a thousand paper cuts."

Does it help to tell you everyone gets to this stage, even if they aren't famous, sought-after celebrity writers? Probably not. True anyway.

We all *want* to do it all, hence the trouble saying NO. When I say no, and feel badly about it, I try to remember that every NO I say to something that isn't a priority or a benefit to my life is a resounding YES to giving time and energy to the things I choose that are.

frog_rocket
Feb. 26th, 2012 01:06 pm (UTC)
I agree! I even find it reassuring to find that famous, sought-after celebrity writers feel like this, too!

Of course, I suppose that sinks my theory that this all gets better with time...
(no subject) - roaming - Feb. 26th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
jolaf
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
Good luck to you in sayin' No. It's not easy, but it's possible. :)
dolnmoon
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
I feel your pain as I too tend to say yes far too many times when I have not the time to complete my own tasks.

I hope that you learn to listen to your own mantra, realize your own human constraints and put your own needs first for a change.

Good luck.
hobnailedboots
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:35 am (UTC)
Don't step on the mice; use the mice to scare the elephants!
breebers
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
Stress
My roommate and I, who are between us: writers, stage managers, producers, technical and artistic managers, house managers, administrative professionals, directors, musicians, actors, designers, and personal/emotional crutches for people in our lives have a magnet on the fridge which reads:
Stress is what happens when your gut says, "no," and your mouth says, "of course I'd be glad to."

The battle for 'yes' people to learn 'no' is a constant one, but just as I am supported knowing my idols struggle with it, I hope knowing that you are not alone helps you crush a few more mice. Annoying little buggers.
And at least get an industrial umbrella for the occasional elephant.
tedwords
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Hmmmm. Say yes a lot?
knightofredempt
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
I know the feeling George...I always say yes and then wonder how the hell I am going to do the thing I said yes to. Mostly it works out, but oh! the sleepless nights. By the way, I really enjoyed the last book, more bleeding cliffhangers than...well a thing with a lot of cliffhangers.

Edited at 2012-02-26 12:47 am (UTC)
attilathepbnun
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
Sounds like you need a giant automatic mouse-swatter ....
May you succeed without it!
inizitu
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
Hug? Hug. Also, tea. *nod* Yes. That'll put you right.
biliki
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
Awww, just reading this made me anxious!

I understand that it is hard to say no-it is a problem I have myself, but, fortunately, I'm not being asked to do ALL these things that you are, but it is true - your life is your life and you need to make choices about how you will spend your precious time.

Or you could, I don't know, direct everyone that is asking you to this entry, which would do all the explaining by itself. I don't think I could ever read something like this and still ''demand'' from someone to do me a favour/give me an interview etc.
bonsaibetz
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
Do you have a publicist? If so, you need to funnel all requests through him/her so he/she can manage and accept/refuse on your behalf and he/she can be the villian and say no for you. If you do not have a publicist, then you need someone to help budget your commitments. How many cons, interview and such a year can you budget? Like money, your time is valuable and needs to be budgeted as well. If you cannot afford to spend any more time this year to do interviews, then kindly refuse with the explanation that to accept would further delay work that is already behind schedule. Same things with cons, anthologies, reviews, prefaces, introductions and the like. Tell them it's nothing personal, but you have too many commitments and cannot do it all, as much as you'd like to.

If you have several publicists trying to get you to commit through the publisher, HBO and who else you submit work to, then you need someone to wrangle your publicists. I'm sure your agent can suggest someone who can play wrangler for you for a small monthly retainer and so you are left free to work without having to fence the requests and be distracted with guilt for saying no or distracting you with cutting into your time because you didn't want to say no.
aeryndex
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
Please print this post and put it up everywhere. :-) Your readers will thank you.

Not that I'm not over the moon that you're involved in the TV show (means it'll be closer to the books!), nor would I turn down any opportunity to see you at a convention, etc. But - if it's taking you away from the writing? Write. :-)

And maybe someday I'll take my own advice . . .
terraprime
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
When I started my job, some well-meaning colleagues had warned me that one of the most important skill to learn is to be able to say "no."

How right they are.

And the difficulty in saying "no" to those things is because they're all worth doing. It's easy to say "no" to trivial things. I suspect that George has such deep roots and affection for the fandom and writing profession that invitations to cons and assisting new writers are dear to his heart as something that he *should* be doing as something further along in the field. And that makes saying "no" hard. Another reason why it's difficult is because some of these invitations are round-about ways of people saying "hey, I like what you're doing." It's hard to say no when people are complimenting you.

But yes, saying "no" is oh-so important to protect your own time and to be able to fulfill your other obligations.

So, I can relate, and empathize.



Oh, and, get a cat.
marlowe1
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
Brian Keene had a heart attack. That taught him to say no. Please don't have a heart attack.
Jesse Hair
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
Gatekeeper
It sounds like you need a gatekeeper you trust, who knows you well, and is skilled at saying "No." Put this person between you and all requests, and let them handle it. It will free up your time, decrease your stress, and just generally make your life a whole lot better.
snowpuss
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
Aw, it sounds like the Eddard Stark in you might be a little too strong. It's OK to say no! Your fans will understand. That said, I am excited to see you in Toronto in a few weeks. :)
Marshall Ray Hunt
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
WoW
2012 motto: no to everything but the Winds of Winter!
arkham1010
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:59 am (UTC)
This may be a bad time, but can you read my fanfic and see if its worth publishing? I promise it does not have too many love scenes between Hermione and Draco.
spitphyre
Feb. 26th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
But several between Sirius and Snape!
macka_gothika
Feb. 26th, 2012 01:05 am (UTC)
It is really great work to learn to say "No". Everything gonna be ok.
londonbard
Feb. 26th, 2012 01:06 am (UTC)
You need to employ someone who is very nice, very polite, very diplomatic - and who will patiently and ruthlessly say "No" on your behalf unless instructed otherwise. (You might be amazed to discover how many people hire secretaries and receptionists to do exactly that.)
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