written by Michael Heiss
The hardest thing to do to a friend is to say “No.” As a writer, I find its something that has been happening more and more. Most of my friends are not artists. They work in finance, or accounting, or broadcasting, and often they ask me, “Can you read this memo?” or “Can you take a look at this presentation before I go in front of my boss? I want to make sure I sound smart.” Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, right? I never had a problem saying “no” to these people when it came to these things. But, as I’ve tried to become more professional with my work, I’ve found that I’ve had to start doing so. When I proofread other people’s work, I tend to stop what i’m doing (my own work) and put the effort into theirs. This leaves me with either 1) no time for my own work, or 2) no energy left for my work. Most of the time, it’s both.
I’ve had to start saying “no” because I’m realizing the value of my craft. I wouldn’t ask my accountant friend to do my taxes free of charge. He might, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it, because I value his time and effort as an accountant. Maybe, the more I say “no,” the more they’ll value me as an author.
The changes may not have worked on them yet, but I’ve had a lot more time for my own work, so the changes are working on me.