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

Jeff VanderMeer • January 14th, 2009 @ 9:53 pm • Evil Monkey

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.

17 Responses to “Be Your Own Worst Enemy: Say No. I Dare Ya.”

  1. Charles Tan 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. Tess @ Work says:


    Wait. Maybe. If there’s cake involved, definitely.

  3. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    I’ll send you a cake. Now, go out into the street and scream “I WANT MY EVIL MONKEY, AND I WANT MY EVIL MONKEY NOW!”

  4. Tess @ Work says:

    I’m too lazy to go out on the street. I just did it here. In the office.

    No one bat an eyelid.

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Maybe you need to punch them in the guts while you’re screaming it. Maybe then they’ll eye a batlid.

  6. Tess @ Work says:

    Dipping my banana in their coffee did the trick. Restrained and dignified, that’s me.

  7. Larry 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 ├â┬╝bercreative 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Will says:

    Jeff, can I get you to come to my house and say this to me three times a day?

  10. David Moles says:

    Cat, what should you have been doing instead?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Terry 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.

  14. Links for 15th January 2009 | Velcro City Tourist Board says:

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

  15. Jeff VanderMeer 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.


  16. Terry 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).

  17. renewable energy says:

    Hey, I would like to chat to you regarding this post, i tried emailing but it never works.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>