No, no, no

So last week, I wrote about YES. All about how we should just say YES to move forward with our writing and our lives.

Today is all about NO.

No one likes to hear “No.” (Just ask any two year old.)

But, NO has a place in our lives just as much as YES. It’s that yin-yang thing. Balance is important.

My example for this week? Two, count ’em, TWO wonderful opportunities to review books for industry leading publications were posted this week. (Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist**, if you’re interested.)

Normally, I’d be jumping up and down like a kid hopped up on Frosted Flakes with chocolate milk to apply for these opportunities. Review books? For two of the most important review organs in the business? And maybe even get paid? How could I say no?

It’s just an application, right?

Wrong. When my critique buddy, Liz, sent me a link to PW’s posting, I started drooling. Then I wiped my mouth and thought about it. I’m already reading for an agency. (It is fun, but my pipeline of books I want to read has slowed considerably.) Plus, I’m trying to spend more time writing and less time reading. This would not be a step in that direction.

Sure, I’d be writing more – more book reviews. But that’s not going to get me any closer to finishing a draft of my current novel. I sighed and mentally said, “No, thank you.” While it’s likely I wouldn’t actually get the opportunity, I had to consider what would happen if I did. Much as I’d like it, a few extra hours in my day were not going to suddenly appear.

The second opportunity was with Booklist – see below if YOU are interested. I love Booklist – one of my favorite moments at BEA in years past was the time I got to meet Bill Ott. (I know, fan-girling over a book reviewer/editor is NOT cool. I don’t care. Bill is awesome.) This one popped up on a listserv for school librarians. (Yes, those still exist.)

Same excitement. Same thought process.

I’d love to say YES to both these opportunities. Applying to them would mean trying for something I once thought I wanted more than anything else. But I’ve been saying YES to other opportunities these days, and let’s face it, when I go home from my job, I’ve a whole second shift to work – and I’m not talking about my reading or writing. (Ladies and house-husbands, you know what I mean.)

Sometimes, you just have to say NO. And that’s okay. Be a little choosy. If you prefer, say YEs to book reviewing and NO to housekeeping and cooking and laundry. You do you, as the kids say. 😉

Just remember, there are two sides to most everything. Black or white. Open or closed. Yes or no. The trick is to find the balance.



**Booklist is actively seeking book reviewers of diverse backgrounds, whether that background is cultural, racial, gender, or another. We are also looking for reviewers fluent in Spanish. Candidates with critical acumen and knowledge of a public-library audience should email writing samples (preferably published work) and reviewing preferences (fiction, nonfiction, adult, YA, picture books, graphic novels, audio, etc.) to one of the following:

Daniel Kraus, Books for Youth (
Donna Seaman, Adult Books (
Sarah Hunter, Graphic Novels (
Joyce Saricks, Audio Books (

4 thoughts on “No, no, no

  1. I know what you mean. I’ve consciously turned down some of the (volunteer) things I used to work on to allow myself more time to write. I try to think in terms of “will this step further my long-term goals?”

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