In Others’ Words: Why We Say Yes

Saying Yes 2015 I always wanted to be a writer. But for years, my focus was on nonfiction: writing for newspapers and magazines and eventually a nonfiction book. And I was happy with that dream.

And then a season of burnout became a bend in the writing road. I wrote a “just for fun” novel. And I eventually showed it to my agent. And after she read it, she asked me, “Why don’t we set aside this nonfiction book you’re working on and see if we can establish you as a novelist?”

And — as crazy as it seemed — I said yes.

And that unexpected yes began so much new in my life.

Yes, I’m a novelist. Surprise!  But I also understand myself better — that happens when you’re developing characters’ wounds, lies and fears. You tend to consider your own. And I’ve grown closer to God … because this writing gig will mess with your mind and heart if you don’t anchor yourself to the Truth.

Oh … and I’ve learned there’s one question I’ll always say no to. It’s this one: Are you going to quit?”


Because there’s no growth when you say “yes” to quitting. 

In Your Words: When have you said ‘yes’ and experienced growth? I’d love for you to share something that began for you because you said ‘yes.’

[Tweet “In Others’ Words: Why We Say Yes #InOthersWords #lifequotes “] [Tweet “”Saying ‘yes’ begins things.” @StephenatHome #StephenColbert #lifequotes”]




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  1. September 8, 2015, 6:22 am   /  Reply

    Yes, you’ve definitely embraced the surprise (almost like having a caboose kid) and grown and deepened. It’s fun to watch and I’ll enjoy watching more of your prizewinning journey, too.

    • September 8, 2015, 8:29 am   /  Reply

      You’re all about saying ‘yes,’ too. Yes to adventures and new friends — places to go and people to see.

  2. September 8, 2015, 7:12 am   /  Reply

    Loved this, Beth. You know my yes story. 🙂 After a crazy idea popped into my head to write a novel, I really struggled with mustering up the bravery it took to actually begin this journey I’d dreamed of since my teen years. Talking with a certain friend who encouraged me to say yes to the journey changed my life. And, as you mentioned, I’m learning more about myself as I write characters who share some of the same struggles I have. I’m learning to depend on God so much more, especially in terms of finding my affirmation in Him, rather than in what others say (or don’t say) about me.

    • September 8, 2015, 8:31 am   /  Reply

      It’s been so fun to watch you say yes over and over again, Jeanne. And you’ve always been one to depend on God — a woman of faith.

  3. September 8, 2015, 7:57 am   /  Reply

    For me, it’s no longer about saying yes. I’ve lost the vision in writing, and in many other things. But I’m still showing up for it every day.

    I don’t see it ‘going’ anywhere, but that’s not the point. At the moment I don’t recall what the point is, but if I keep doing what I’m doing, maybe one day I’ll remember.

    • September 8, 2015, 8:33 am   /  Reply

      Sorting through this comment, I can tell you’re having a rough day. Even so, you’re choosing ‘yes’ again — choosing to show up here. To participate. To be you. To say “I’m here, and relationships are valuable to me.”
      And you are valuable to others.
      Don’t forget that.

      • September 8, 2015, 8:42 am   /  Reply

        Thanks, Beth. It is not an easy day, you’re right.

        And yes, I know I’m valued; that’s what made it possible to be here today.

  4. Gail Helgeson
    September 8, 2015, 9:17 am   /  Reply

    Just said YES to Deep Thinkers–Here we go!

    • September 8, 2015, 10:06 am   /  Reply

      Yay, Gail! You will not regret it!! 🙂

  5. September 8, 2015, 10:17 am   /  Reply

    Great post.

    I’ve grown as a writer when I’ve said “yes” to stories that seemed so far outside my adequacies that they scared the living day lights out of me. I’ve also grown when I’ve said “yes” to the stories that seem so light and fluffy as to be trivial.

    I’ve also grown as a writer when I said “no” to things that drew me away from writing and that sometimes were considered necessary to writing (or at least necessary for writers), but were counterproductive to me.

    Ironically, the things I said “no” to were more difficult to do than saying “yes” to that impossible story.

    • September 8, 2015, 10:47 am   /  Reply

      There’s a quote about life beginning outside our comfort zone, Carrie. And yes, there is growth in saying no … but that’s another blog post. 😉

  6. September 8, 2015, 10:47 am   /  Reply

    Saying yes is the easy part for me. I say yes to everything. 🙂 Staying with it is what’s hard. But not as hard when I have a deadline. Then there’s no option. Great post!

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