(otherwise titled: I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No!)
by Helena Fairfax
A couple of years ago we sold the large house where my children grew up and bought somewhere much smaller. It was an old Victorian terrace in Yorkshire (in the north of England, where I live) and it needed a LOT of renovating. I basically spent a year living in dirt.
|The cluttered room where I work|
So, there doesn’t seem to be much to peeve about here, huh? There’s just one small fly in the ointment. Now people know I work from home, I am the go-to person for help. Since I no longer work in my factory job, people seem to think that “just writing”, especially “just writing romance novels” isn’t really what they'd call a proper job and that I have all the time in the world.
Requests for help can range from neighbours asking me if I’d mind “nipping to the Post Office” to pick up a parcel whilst they’re at work (and believe me, no-one “nips” to my local Post Office! There’s never anywhere to park, plus a massive queue of people, all sending parcels to far-flung places and paying with piles of one pence coins), or else looking after a friend's ill child whilst she's at work, to running people to hospital for their appointments.
Of course I don’t mind helping people in need – I’ve been in need myself and I know what it's like – it’s just that sometimes I wish people would recognise that writing is actually a “proper job” which takes up a lot of my time, and if I don’t spend time on it I won’t earn any money.
Now, I’m supposed to finish my post by showing how I deal with my pet peeve…but I honestly can’t think how to deal with this problem!
I have a Plan A: Don’t answer my phone. Obviously this works, but really I'm just avoiding the problem. Plus, I might miss an important call.
My Plan B is: spend all day in my jimjams reeking of gin, with my hair all wild, looking like thesort of person no one in their right mind would ever ask for help. This one might be fun for a while, but again, I think I'm just avoiding the problem - plus even my long-suffering husband would soon get a little tired of it!
|My wild look|
How do you turn people down assertively? Does anyone else find it hard saying no? Any commenters will go into a draw for a free Muse book – and I'll also be massively grateful for any advice or to share your experience!