What Happens When You Say No - Enchantment

Big magic: creative living beyond fear - Elizabeth Gilbert 2015

What Happens When You Say No

The simplest answer, of course, is just to say no.

Then you’re off the hook. The idea will eventually go away and—congratulations!—you don’t need to bother creating anything.

To be clear, this is not always a dishonorable choice. True, you might sometimes decline inspiration’s invitation out of laziness, angst, insecurity, or petulance. But other times you might need to say no to an idea because it is truly not the right moment, or because you’re already engaged in a different project, or because you’re certain that this particular idea has accidentally knocked on the wrong door.

I have many times been approached by ideas that I know are not right for me, and I’ve politely said to them: “I’m honored by your visitation, but I’m not your girl. May I respectfully suggest that you call upon, say, Barbara Kingsolver?” (I always try to use my most gracious manners when sending an idea away; you don’t want word getting around the universe that you’re difficult to work with.) Whatever your response, though, do be sympathetic to the poor idea. Remember: All it wants is to be realized. It’s trying its best. It seriously has to knock on every door it can.

So you might have to say no.

When you say no, nothing happens at all.

Mostly, people say no.

Most of their lives, most people just walk around, day after day, saying no, no, no, no, no.

Then again, someday you just might say yes.