Freelance Writers Learn the Meaning of No

According to the word “No” has the following meanings:

1. a negative used to express dissent, denial, or refusal, as in response to a question or request)
2. used to emphasize or introduce a negative statement): Not a single person came to the party, no, not a one.
3. not in any degree or manner; not at all (used with a comparative): He is no better.
4. not a (used before an adjective to convey the opposite of the adjective’s meaning): His recovery was no small miracle.

5. not a (used before a noun to convey the opposite of the noun’s meaning): She’s no beginner on the ski slopes.

6. an utterance of the word “no.”
7. a denial or refusal: He responded with a definite no.
8. a negative vote or voter: The noes have it.

Verb (used with object)
9. to reject, refuse approval, or express disapproval of.

Verb (used without object)
10. to express disapproval.

11. no can do, Informal. it can’t be done.

Many people, including freelance writers, find it difficult to say “No.” They feel bad telling family not to bother them between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm (unless it’s an emergency). They feel bad turning down family functions because they have a deadline to meet. They also find it challenging to tell clients they can’t take on anymore work. Not learning how to say “No” will stress you out!

Freelance writers often work from home. You’re still working; the only difference is you work from home versus a corporate office. Close the door and put a sign on it that says “Writer at Work, Do Not Disturb.” Learn how to set your boundaries with family. Unless the house is on fire or the school calls you to come and pick up your sick child, you’re not to be disturbed!

If you’re ghostwriting a book, tell family and friends you’ll be unavailable for a few weeks. They may get offended but that’s the way it is. You chose freelance writing as a career. If you enjoy what you do, missing a couple of parties and family functions won’t be a big deal. Freelance writing is your business — this is how you make your living.

Learning how to say “No” and mean it can set you free. Freelance writers sometimes take on more work than they can handle. Unless you can outsource work, gently tell clients you can’t take on more work at this time. Turning down work may feel painful at first but it will help you keep your sanity.

Freelance writers, the sooner you learn to say “No,” the better. If you’re overworked and overtired, you won’t be any use to family, clients, friends, or your community. Saying “No” can liberate you in more ways than one. You may want to practice saying “No” by looking in the mirror. Good luck!


How difficult is it for you to say “No” and mean it? Share.