I Said No To Something Today

lrg_mitten_handcuffs.jpgAnd it almost killed me. Anyone who knows me at all knows how hard it is for me to say no to Anything that seems interesting, good or worthwhile, which has gotten me into a great state of overwhelm and not really being able to get anything done, ever. Each night when I go to bed, I have a mental to-do list a mile long for the next day, in multiple categories. It never ever ends, and yet I still keep piling things on.

But today I made the (sigh) decision to not offer my online Parent-Lit writing class this spring. I was going to do just one advanced class, but I kept putting off announcing it. They asked me over at Literary Mama if I wanted to list it under their class announcements, and I missed the deadline, chewing my nails to the quick and pacing around. I couldn’t decide.

I love teaching. And I particularly love teaching this class, which has the most passionate, wonderful students ever. But this feeling of never, ever being On Top Of Things has really been getting to me. I still have unfinished business from my last spring’s class, and if they are reading this, they will know what I mean. I swore that I would not start a new class until I finished this last responsibility to the prior group. It is still not finished. It is killing me.

So I said no. I took it off the top of my blog. I don’t know when I will put it back. I am fortunate enough that I do not need to offer this class for the income (and truly it is not enough income to make THAT much of a difference); I was doing it for community, and for love of writing and teaching. But I hate doing things badly; it stresses me more than I can say.

My camp-organizing job at Pact has really taken off in the last two weeks, after months of feeling totally stalled out. Now we are really going. (July 13-18th, everyone!) It is really happening, it is going to be AMAZING this year, but it is also going to take a lot of work. I have to prepare for my presentation at AWP later this month. I am the travel coordinator for my daughter’s crew team, and am in charge of shuttling over a hundred young people all over the state this spring. I am now co-editor of Creative Nonfiction over at Literary Mama. I have a lot of miscellaneous writing assignments, including my ongoing column, various essays, and the spectre of all my unfinished books looming over everything. My older daughter is counting the months to college, and time just seems to be evaporating in front of my eyes.

So I did it. I said no to one thing. It broke my heart a little, but for now I will just have to say, “Later.”

(so what’s with the bizarro picture, you ask? I was looking for an image of handcuffs, to illustrate the fact that I need to be handcuffed in order to keep typing “yes I’ll do that!” to anything that comes along. And I could not resist this woman’s delight at her metal, mitten handcuffs.)

6 thoughts on “I Said No To Something Today

  1. My mentor promises me that when I say no to things it makes big “yes” things happen. It sounds like you already have a lot of yes things going on!!!!

  2. I can identify– it’s hard to say no when it’s something you really want to do, but know in your heart of hearts that you just can’t (or really shouldn’t) take on. So, good for you. I’m sure that when you are less busy (and wow, are you busy!) you can offer it again, so you’re not giving it up forever, just for now.

  3. Wow! You are REALLY busy! (said by a mom of 3 under 2!)
    I’m glad you said no to teaching the class right now and that you listened to your intuition. As part of my “get centered” resolution, I’m trying to do more of that, too. And I loved what Dawn commented- I saw that happen for me this week!

  4. As someone from last spring’s class, I can say don’t worry about your project🙂. It will be wonderful whenever it happens. Let me know if there’s a way I can help with it. And, although I’m very bummed you’re not offering the advanced workshop (I’d noticed it off your blog earlier this week), congratulations on making a tough decision. I’ll be ready for the advanced workshop when you decide it’s a good time to teach it.

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