Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Power Of No

Such a simple word. Such a complicated word.

When was the last time you were told No? An hour ago? Last week? Last month?

On The Voice last week, Pharrell Williams told one of his team "No should be your biggest motivation." His words don't just apply to the music industry. In both your life, and in becoming an author, the word No is constantly volleyed at you left and right.

Sometimes, the word is lower case–no. You can step right over these little pebbles of rejection. Your blind date never called again when you thought something had clicked, or you get a form rejection letter on your very first manuscript from a big publisher.

Then sometimes the first letter of the word is upper case but not in bold letters–No. That's when the job you were so perfect for, the one where you killed on the interview, went to someone else. Or when the agent who thought enough of your work to request a full decided she had someone already on her client list who was similar. What do you do then? You can't just step over these Nos. They're too big. So you decide to go back to school, to get your Master's degree or to take more workshops on craft to better your writing.

The worst, though, is the big NO. Upper case, bold. The man you thought you'd share the rest of your life with tells you he doesn't love you anymore. Or the three book deal with a six-figure advance went to your best writing buddy. In these cases, you have two choices. You can either give up and lay down, letting that huge boulder of a NO flatten you, or you can choose to let it motivate you, spur you on to even greater heights. Your friend got a three-book deal? You'll get a five-book one. Your significant other left you? Put yourself back into the dating pool and find a partner who's even better.

If you let the power of the word no motivate you, you'll become a better person, a better partner, a better writer. You just can't let it flatten you.


  1. Hi Becky, It is so important to keep the shade and size of NO in proper perspective. Thanks for an inspiring post! Joanne :)

  2. Thanks to both of you for visiting. And, I agree, Lynn. Pharrell is one of the wisest men I know.

  3. I loved this post!
    I couldn't have said it better.

  4. I loved this post!
    I couldn't have said it better.