Erin Bass. Southern Lit. Supporter of blogs. Amazing writer. Smart and savvy. Erin’s mind is always ticking away- and her features on Deep South Magazine are incredible. She has her finger on the pulse of Southern Lit.
A tweet from Erin while I was at my first Sweet Potato Queen weekend back in 2011 started our friendship- and it has grown beyond just a Twitter friendship. I trust Erin with my thoughts about blogging and books and more.
Erin Bass of Deep South Magazine talks about saying “no”
“Saying No in 2014”
I’ve been thinking a lot this past year about resolutions and changes I’d like to make in 2014. I know, why wait until the end of the year to try and do better when I could have been making changes all along? Because some of us (me) need that extra push and the excuse of a holiday to get motivated. As I get older, I find it helps to spend time reflecting on the past year and setting goals for things I want to accomplish in the future. Resolutions in my thirties have become about getting things done (but not just for the sake of crossing them off a list), having no regrets and living life to the fullest.
Since an online magazine doesn’t run itself, work is always a priority. I’m thankful that my work is something I enjoy, but I’m always trying to improve. In 2014, I want to be more focused on what I’d like to accomplish for Deep South. It’s easy to get sidetracked by the vast amount of emails, story pitches and ideas we receive. Again, I’m thankful that readers are enthusiastic enough to send an email and make suggestions for stories, but we can’t accept all of them. I need to really consider what fits with our mission and what will help us grow in the coming year.
Accomplishing this and sticking with it will take some forethought and planning, something I’m spending the first week of January doing. As most Southerners know — especially Southern women — it’s hard to say “no.” We are people pleasers and were raised to be polite and agreeable. The word “no” isn’t really in our vocabulary, and it’s difficult for me to risk disappointing someone by saying it. Heck, it was difficult just to turn on my “out of office” the week of New Year’s, but I needed some time to regroup.
What I’ve been conscious of this past year is that by saying “yes” all the time, I’ve become overcommitted and not able to enjoy anything. While doing one of the many things I’ve said yes to, I’m thinking about my next commitment and how many tasks are still left undone. I’m not present in the moment, and I’m resentful toward the person I’ve said yes to. The only person to blame for this is myself.
So, in 2014 — as gracefully and politely as possible — I will be saying no a lot more. No, I can’t bring a dish to yet another dinner or even attend said dinner. No, I won’t be able to attend that charity function, luncheon or networking event. Instead, I’m going to spend time doing things that are meaningful to me and actually enjoy them while I’m doing them.
I’ll take time to finish that short story I started at the beginning of last year and maybe even write another one. I’ll enjoy lunch with an old friend and not be thinking about getting to my next commitment. I’ll crack open that book that just arrived in the mail and take an hour to curl up and read on the couch without the distraction of an email or text. If I do attend that dinner, it will be because I want to and I’ll enjoy the company while I’m there.
It’s hard to not feel selfish about this resolution, but I’ve come to realize that saying no is about extending some of that “yes” to ourselves. I realize that I don’t need to tell myself yes every time I want another piece of chocolate or glass of wine, but I do need to give myself permission to slow down and put work aside sometimes. Often, like in the case of a good book or developing a friendship with someone I’ve interviewed or met through Twitter, work and pleasure intermingle. It’s in these moments that I truly enjoy my life and work.
Hopefully saying no to those empty obligations and yes to those moments that really enrich my life will make 2014 an even better year for myself and Deep South.
If you don’t read Deep South Magazine– check it out!