Inspiration for Writers

The Struggle to Say No

Georgia Shaffer
Georgia Shaffer

Georgia Shaffer from Pennsylvania

In my last blog article I mentioned a quote from John Maxwell where he discussed making time in his schedule to write. He said, “I need to be inaccessible to be effective.” This comment really resonated with the women in my writers critique group as they talked about their struggle to say no to all the demands of those around them. One said, “I feel like I always need to be accessible whether that be for family, phone calls, or emails.”

Being inaccessible means carving out set periods of time when the people in your life understand you need to write.  This is a time you mark on your calendar and, aside from an emergency, a time you ask the people in your life to honor and respect. You may experience resistance to your request to be alone, but stay firm if writing is a priority for you.

“It’s such an ongoing battle getting the time,” one mother of three young children said. “Besides people have already written on the topic I want to write about.” She’s struggling with taking time to write when her husband is home from work because she questions whether she has anything to say. I reminded her, however, that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all wrote about their experiences from their different points of view in the gospels. If God is leading you to write, people need to hear your stories, your words, and what you have to say on an issue.

If you are struggling to say no in order to have the time to write, consider the following:

1.    Being accessible isn’t what gives you significance.

One writer said, “I want to be the kind of person who is there for my friends. Besides, they will be upset if they can’t reach me. I might lose their friendship.” If pleasing your friends and always being available gives you significance, then maybe you want to re-evaluate that thought. Our significance and identify does not come from being a writer or being a friend who is always available. It comes from our relationship with Jesus.

2.    Being accessible doesn’t make you more effective.

One reason Jesus was so effective was because he rose early, put physical distance between himself and others, and prayed. He was intentional about getting time alone with God. We also need time to connect with God so we can minister to others in our own special way. And if God has called you to write, then writing is one of the ways you will be fruitful and effective.

3.     Being inaccessible doesn’t mean you are insensitive to the needs of others.

Communicate to your friends and family that they are important to you and you love them. But you also want them to understand you have things to share with others that may temporarily take you away from them. Again, if there is an emergency, you do want to be available. Taking time to write does not mean you ignore those in your life. You’ll often discover that when you stick to your time for writing, others will honor and respect you more, not less.

4.     Being inaccessible does not have to increase your guilt and stress.

Often taking the time to do what you enjoy or feel is important reduces your stress, gives you energy, and empowers you. There is no need to feel guilty or selfish when you are willing to write what someone else needs to hear or be reminded of.

Instead of struggling and trying to please the people in your life, have the confidence to say no to some of the good things in your life.  This will give you time to say yes to God’s best and to the writer in you.

Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make by Georgia Shaffer
Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make by Georgia Shaffer

About Georgia Shaffer

Georgia is an author, Christian life coach, and licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania. Her books include Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make; Taking Out Your Emotional Trash; and A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life after Loss. For more information on Georgia or on her coaching of authors and speakers, visit