Be Your Own Worst Enemy: Say No. I Dare Ya.

Just a little aside re creating cool stuff and realizing a vision: People who start out saying “no” and “no, that can’t be done” and “no, that’s too ambitious” when you start talking about a creative process (perhaps even before you’ve finished explaining)…those people are already entering a downward spiral of lowered expectations. Don’t be one of those people. (Which is not to say if Evil Monkey wants to partner with you making a perpetual motion machine you ought to take Evil up on his offer.)

It’ll sound like a motivational poster, but almost anything is possible if you have the practical knowledge or tools to support your vision–and you will it to happen.

– Say yes to three creative opportunities that scare the crap out of you this year and you will experience tremendous personal growth.

– Take one area you’re weak in and make it a strength through practice and force of will.


  1. says

    The Evil Monkey endorses this blog entry.

    So, when do we start with Vandermeer cloning experiment? (Just don’t steal Jay Lake’s prototype.) Or your new Squirrel Cam Fiction Project. =)

  2. says

    I teach. Doesn’t that count for virtually all of those, since all of my weaknesses as a human being are being exposed continually and I have to be übercreative just to keep half the class awake at any given time? :P

    I’ll have to think on this more. I have vowed to become more reflective and less reactive as I age.

  3. Cat Sparks says

    I blew my youth saying yes to every dumbarse creative endeavour my empty little head could conjure up. When I look at how much time I wasted, let alone the money… and all because I believed so utterly and relentlessly in me.

  4. jeff vandermeer says

    depends on your definition of success. the definition of success can be “i learned a lot from it” even if the project is a failure compared to its potential. for every project I get off the ground there are four that never made it. then there are projects that do make it that I call “successful failures”. leviathan was supposed to come out every year. baf may not last past 3 or 4 or 5. album zutique was supposed to be a series. secret lives was something I thought would do great as a gift book from a major publisher. if I had a negative mindset all I learned from those and everything that was accomplished re those kinds of projects would mean nothing.

  5. Zephid Bebex says

    Sometimes I say ‘no’ out loud when on the inside I am screaming ‘yes! yes! yes!”

    I am trying to hide my true desires from the gods, least they play Job-like tricks on me.

  6. says

    Unless you’re really careful, saying yes to creative things gets a lot harder when you’re over 50 years of age. Then, the reminder helps.

    Thanks, Jeff — from a 52-year-old.

  7. says

    Dear Be-Quilled Zephid: Yes, you do indeed say no. But I have allocated 10% of my life to making Zephid say yes, because you’re worth it.

    Terry: In all seriousness, that’s why I lift weights regularly. Short of terminal disease (knock on wood) I plan to be in better shape at 50 than I am now.


  8. says

    Oh, now, see, that’s not a fair thing to say to someone who just started Weight Watchers on Monday.

    But how about this: I plan to be in better shape at 60 than I am now (short, as you say, of terminal disease).