One of the things I’ve struggled with all my life is learning when to put my foot down and just say “no”. I’ve always been a people-pleaser and I partly blame that on my personality but also on the way I was taught to behave at school. “Smile more! Don’t be grumpy! Don’t put your hand up so often; you’re intimidating the boys!” Hearing stuff like that your whole life really has an effect on you and I have to say one of the consequences was that I had no idea how to just say “no” and not constantly apologize for it.
When I started my blog I wanted to get involved in every book-related project I could. I joined NetGalley and Edelweiss, opened up my requests to authors and said yes to almost every one of them, commented on so many blogs regularly, etc. It took up a lot of time but it was generally enjoyable. However, things took a turn for the worse when I realized that they were taking up too much of my time. My blog was eating into the other things I liked to do, like read. Suddenly, I didn’t have the time to read all of the books I was requesting and accepting because there were too many of them. I was buried under a pile of commitments to other bloggers. I became very, very stressed.
Then suddenly I said no.
I closed down my review requests, respectfully declined on some projects and only requested from NetGalley what I would read and review within a week. It was really hard but for the first time in my life I was tired of pleasing people. I just wanted to please myself for once. Just saying no, the simple act of saying no to someone online was a turning point for me. I began to say no to things I didn’t want to do in real life. I realized I don’t have to please everyone; at the end of the day I’m the one that has to live with myself. So while I continue to be pleasant to everyone and help out where I can, I’ve finally realized that my number one priority is me. It’s my life so at the end of the day I come first. Of course I still help out in the community with various fundraising and volunteering projects and I help out friends in need. But I’ve learned to say no to some things so I have room for the more important things in life.
As a book blogger you’re probably a natural people-pleaser as well as most of us seem to be more introverted. You don’t have to be! You really can just say no sometimes, especially if you don’t have time for something. Saying no isn’t a bad thing. It can be absolutely liberating and saying no to a couple of things you didn’t really want to do leaves time for you to say yes to things you really want to do.
I know it’s hard, but just say no once in a while. It really is liberating.