Biting off more than you can chew

Review 134 Launch

It’s tempting to say yes to everything, isn’t it? Especially when the things you’re agreeing to could lead to money/friends/adulation/fame. Well, maybe not the last one, but we can always hope.

When someone asks me to do something, there’s always a pause, a moment where I riffle through the baggy filofax of my mind, looking for the many reasons I can’t. But in the pressure of the moment, the pages I’m looking for aren’t there, and somehow I find myself saying yes. Then, when it sinks in that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew yet again, I toss that mental filofax across the room in a fit of despair, howling ‘how will I fit it all in?’

Resigned, I add the new task to my list, for it to then be ignored in turn when the next request comes up. And so it goes. I tell myself I’ll shake it up and start saying no more often, but how can I, when by turning something down I might be missing out on something?

Some of that hard work paid off last week, after all, with the launch of the latest Edinburgh Review, which we held at the lovely new Looking Glass Books, and it was great fun. The readers were fab and there was some good chat in the pub afterwards.

Do you say yes when really you mean ‘No, I’m too busy, go away and leave me alone. Unless you have cake.’?

What was I meant to be doing again?

Oh yeah, I was meant to be, like, you know, writing stuff. Except I haven’t been, even though I did my desk up all nice and everything.

Well, that’s not true, I have, it’s just been of the copy variety. That’s the thing about freelance isn’t it, you always want to say yes to every job, just in case it’s the last one that’s ever offered. Never fear though, I have lovely friend who already tuts and tells me off when I accept too many briefs and, get this, the other week I turned down a job for what was, I think, the first time ever.

So I’ve not been getting as much done as I wanted, but I did do some successful Christmas shopping today. Spying a million things I never realised I wanted along the way, of course – the dangers of going to the shops, something I don’t normally do.

And last week was grand, because we had the launch of the latest issue of the Edinburgh Review, with its lovely cover image from Fin, and the fabulous Gwendoline Riley and Ewan Morrison treated us to some top quality readings. Happy times. I also enjoyed the wine, maybe a little too much.

Overall, I’m pretty good and people even keep telling me I look refreshed. I think working from home (and sleeping for more than six hours a night) totally suits me.