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The Awesome Power of No (And Yes, Too)

FOMO: It lurks around every corner, in every email.

If you’re anything like me, you struggle with the fear of missing out (FOMO, for the uninitiated). 

FOMO rears its ugly head in social situations, with educational opportunities, and through those limited-time sales you’re served ads for relentlessly on Facebook.

It also shows up all the time in the world of publishing and writing.

Don’t believe me? Well—

Have you ever worried you’re not doing “enough” on social media? Are you concerned not writing today will make all the difference between making it as an author or failing to live up to your potential? Will not submitting to a particular writing contest mean missing out on the acclaim you feel your work merits?

If you weren’t worried before, perhaps you are now.

The thing about FOMO, however, is that it’s a double-edged sword, and it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve realized I’ve been holding tightly to one end of the blade, cutting my own hand open as I brazenly lunge at my writerly FOMO.

In dedicating myself doggedly to slaying my FOMO in the world of writing, I’ve missed out in other ways. I’ve missed out on gatherings with friends (in the pre-COVID days), time alone with my wife, and time alone with just myself (which is, yes, also important).

This is where the power of “no” comes in.

This single word haunts FOMO’s dreams. When we embrace “no,” we reject making choices from a place of fear and instead embrace what we already have in front of us–and sometimes that’s just fine.

And “no?” It’s a word we have to acquaint ourselves with anyway if we’re to make time to write at all. In fact, if you’re dedicated to writing as part of a regular routine, the act of sticking to that routine is already a demonstration that you understand the power of no.

In this way, then, missing out is an inevitability, but it’s one we need not fear.

Instead, if we empower ourselves to prioritize our time based on that which we’d like to say yes to, well, we’re then making these choices from a place of positivity.

I’ve long struggled with saying “no,” but, going forward, I can’t let myself focus on that which I’m saying “no” to. I can’t let myself focus on that which I’m missing out on.

Instead, I’ll view these choices through the lens of that which I’m saying yes to, and I hope you’ll do the same.

No matter how you choose to view the interplay between yes and no, I hope you’ll share with me what it is you’ve feared missing out on as of late. To what have you said yes? To what have you said no? How did you arrive at those decisions, and how did it feel once you made them?

Let me know in the comments!


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