I’m deep into research for the third book in the Lucy and Dee series. In writing the first two titles, I learned that the secret to success in almost any endeavour is large, uninterrupted blocks of focused time. And this is especially true of research. I have to read, take notes, consider where to use it most effectively and, at the same time, ensure it enhances the story and doesn’t overwhelm it. There’s a lot going on and it takes time.
But how to get that time when there’s alway’s someone who needs the answer to a question, a task done, an event attended. So I’ve been working on saying ‘no’ as nicely and firmly as possible. But so often there’s a rebuttal like the innocuous sounding, “But it will just take a minute!”. A minute is all fine and good but, according to the lovely people at Mind Tools, it take 23 minutes (!) to regain focus after a single interruption. Who has that kind of time?
It’s impossible to accomplish anything of importance, professionally or personally without the ability to say ‘no’. And ‘NO!’ is a complete sentence.
If you want to soften it, consider using the E.B. White quote. If nothing else, I’ve found it baffles people long enough to derail them!
And I’ve discovered that those who truly care about my wellbeing will not try to manipulate and cajole. They’re happy to wait until my work is done. Besides, how urgent can it be? Unless there’s arterial bleeding, a blocked windpipe, a heart attack or stroke, quite frankly, it is not an emergency.
Now, back to my research!