Monday, November 15, 2010

Sorry, but I can't help you with your writing today.

A friend of a friend asked me to help her with her book proposal. I should have said no, but since she was a friend of a very good friend, I said yes, although it would take me a few weeks. After she sent me her work, I realized that she needed a lot more help than I'd realized. I quickly did some editing, made some suggestions, and sent it back, when what I really needed to do was help her revise the entire piece. But I didn't have time. I'm drowning in work right now, studying for two major exams and a working a full time internship. Any spare moment I have is either spent with my daughter or reading text books. Forget writing; my muse has abandoned me because the only writing I do these days is for my blogs.

I should have said no, but instead I said yes. The woman's agent is the one who said no.

I know it's not my fault the agent rejected her proposal, but I feel somewhat responsible. She asked me for help and I agreed to give it, but because of the time pressure I'm under, I gave her the minimum.

For the next few months, the answer is no to any and all requests for help with writing. As much as I enjoy editing and helping new authors, I simply cannot give the amount of time it takes to really help someone with their manuscript. A 200 page project equals a week of work for me, depending on the amount of help the writer needs. A simple proposal can take 5 hours. Anything less is unfair to the writer who is trusting me to help them, not just throw Band-Aids at a book and then wish them luck.

When someone asks for help, I automatically want to say yes. It's just who I am. Need help with your book, your kids, your hair, your grocery list, your pets, your dirty windows, your relationship, your car... of course I can help. I genuinely want to help people, especially if it's in my power to do so. However, I tend to forget that there's just one me who cannot be in several places at once doing multiple things at once. Even I have a limit to my superpowers.

So, until at least the end of January, I must say no. I know you need help and I wish there were 30 hours in a day instead of only 24, but I absolutely do not have one more hour to give to anyone. If I gave up any more time, I'd have to give up bathing, and my family might start to complain after a few days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's hard - I am the same way - but you MUST say no. Good for you, and best of luck. I really enjoy your blog!
- Tessa