How Many Balls Should You Juggle…and Which?

Last year, I guest-posted over at Shrinking Violet Promotions about the pluses of saying Yes. I believe firmly that it’s a much better word than No. Especially when you’re talking to yourself.

But how many yes‘s can you handle? As you move further along your writing path, opportunities are going to multiply.  Here are just a few things you may want to jump into as you get deeper into your writing and your writing community:

  • Writing on multiple WIPs
  • Taking writing classes
  • Going to some writing conferences
  • Volunteering at a writing club or conference
  • Writing a blog
  • Getting out onto Facebook and/or Twitter
  • Contributing to a newsletter
  • JOIN A CRITIQUE GROUP 🙂

And there are 24 hours in a day?

How many times can you say yes without feeling like those balls you have in the air are transforming into chainsaws and unhappy cats? How do you pick which things to say yes to, without a crystal ball to tell you how it will all work out.

You listen to your gut and accept that Baby Steps can win at “Mother May I” just as well as Giant Steps.

If something sounds fun or you really think it’ll help your writing (craft or career), say yes. If an opportunity has a sour “taste” to it, think twice. Or thrice. Either way, though, if you decide to go for it, remember you can go slowly. You can start with one class, not three. You can pick a local, one-day conference, not a four-day event that requires two days on a plane and another for recovery. Ask your conference coordinators if they can use another person at the registration desk, the day of the conference, instead of offering to handle catering for the entire event.

If you inch forward, even several inches at once, you get a chance to try things out, to test your gut with the reality, not just the picture your nervous imagination is painting. You’ll see what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what makes you feel like you’re moving forward…versus hitting a dead-end.

You’ll be doing more and you’ll be enjoying it.

What about you? What yes’s are you considering this fall?

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18 thoughts on “How Many Balls Should You Juggle…and Which?

  1. A great post for those of us who are not writers but needing (or at least in my case) to always be in the active process of looking at the importance of “yes” and therefore, if important, how to protect “yes” from ultimately becoming a “maybe” at best….thanks, Becky!

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  2. I’m saying yes to me this year. I only volunteered for one event at school (last year I was at school 2-3 days a week–too much!) and I’m concentrating on what’s best for me and for my family. It’s very liberating. I don’t have to do it all!

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  3. This is a great post, Becky. I get so excited about opportunities, requests to critique, etc, that my first initial reaction is a resounding yes, I’ll do it.

    Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day. I am learning that in the long run it’s kinder to say no, but it’s hard.

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  4. I’m saying yes to stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’m making the gradual shift to working full-time, have applied to volunteer at a museum, and will hopefully be working with a group of advanced drama students (as a sort of teacher’s assistant). But at the same time, I’m saying yes to cozy pursuits, too, like cooking, baking, and my newfound interest in crocheting.

    None of those, interestingly enough, are directly writing-related, but I believe they will all feed my writing process in different ways!

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    • beckylevine says:

      Tori, I listed writing things, because that’s my focus right now, but I think it’s all true for any place we want to stretch & grow. And I know you’re right–it will feed your writing.

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  5. I think of my life as a house of cards. All balancing on top of one another. But thus far, no breeze has blown it over.
    I’m a firm believer in seizing opportunities when they come along as they don’t always come along. So say yes when you can to things that can matter.

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    • beckylevine says:

      I like the house of cards. There are weeks when I use the analogy (metaphor?!) of coconuts falling all around me–so far they’ve missed!

      And you’re right–opportunities don’t always pop up. A good reason to go for those that do.

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  6. I have a really hard time saying no and as a result my plate is often overfull. Right now I am torn between saying yes or no to an opportunity that feels almost right but I am on the fence. I just don’t want it to be the one that pushes me over to the other side.

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    • beckylevine says:

      You’re getting better at saying yes. Can you just take a small step out into the new thing? “Negotiate” a smaller step than they’re asking for? 🙂

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  7. Great post, Becky. I know I often take on too many tasks, some school related and others writing or art related. It can be overwhelming. I’m learning only to say yes to the things I really want to do and to politely take a pass on the things I really don’t want to do.

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    • beckylevine says:

      It’s amazing how much people understand that, too, Stella. We always think it’ll be horrible to say “no” to the other things, but everybody’s in the same boat of making choices, I think.

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  8. Love this post, Becky. I can feel your energy from here! And I like your idea of Baby Steps.

    I always find it hard to say no. But I have so much on my plate already that it’s necessary. Otherwise I’d have to say “no” to new writing, and that would make me very unhappy.

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  9. claudine says:

    I love this! I was surfing your site to see how you kept up with all the things you do, and here was this one about taking on more.
    I like the idea of doing it in baby steps.
    Now, I’m off to see if you posted your secret to accomplishing things. 🙂

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    • beckylevine says:

      Baby steps are the BIG lesson of my adult life. Only way to make it happen, as far as I’m concerned. You know, without going MORE nutso. 🙂

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