In any career, whatsoever, saying ‘no’ is a big thing. Many of us are struggling in our everyday professional lives to say ‘no’ to things we don’t want to do, or cannot do, but are afraid that it will affect our future. In a writer’s life also, there are points when a ‘no’ becomes inevitable. Impossible deadlines, pressure to change plot for the sake of marketing and commercialization, compromising on one’s own creativity for the sake of ‘sales’- every writer has to face all of this, at one point or the other.
Saying ‘no therefore becomes important. Otherwise you end up compromising on the quality of your literature. But how do you say ‘no’ in a way that will not have a negative impact on your career?
1. It is not an offense
Saying ‘no’ is not offensive, unless you are saying it only because you want to offend someone. You have to understand, and make the person on the other side of the table understand that when you say ‘no’, it does not mean you are offending them, or you wish to harm them in any way. You are saying ‘no’ because you made a choice of not obliging or doing something. That is your choice which you are entitled to.
2. Don’t feel guilty
If you feel guilty while saying ‘no’ to someone, that person will automatically assume you have done something wrong and that is why you have guilt inside you. Be confident when you are saying ‘no’. You need to send the message across that you have thought about it and have logically reached the conclusion of rejecting the proposal, whatever that might be.
3. Be polite but authoritative
You have decided to say ‘no’, so own up to it and show that. Show your authority over your own decision; do not fumble or hesitate. At the same time, don’t be impolite. Politeness is a cure for many ill-feelings and unpleasantness. If you can politely explain to someone why you are saying ‘no’, they might be a little annoyed at you for some time, but they will understand and accept it gradually.
4. Be clear
Do not say ‘maybe’, ‘let’s see’ or ‘give me some more time’. When you have decided to say ‘no’, make the ‘no’ loud and clear- like all capital letters and big bold font. Do not give people false hope. It is not fair on them either. Also do not delay it, unless you are really reconsidering your decision.
5. Give explanation
Always explain your situation honestly, as to why you cannot do what you are expected to. Let people know the actual reason behind your negative response. Explain to them how you already have too much on your plate, or you do not want to change the plot line and feel like you should go ahead with this one as you’re already doing. Be firm but do explain yourself.
So, next time you fall into a situation where a ‘no’ is required on your part, just go ahead and say it. If you are honest, sincere and have a good enough reason, people will surely understand.
Image credit: Anne-Lise Heinrichs on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/215888_10150217537488939_1231540_n.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Abhinanda Banerjee is a full-time freelance writer and stage actor. She’s an avid reader, culinary enthusiast, and lover of everything about the sixties.