The way you become successful in the arts is by saying yes. It really is. I said yes to Dear Sugar—no pay, huge amount of work, completely uncertain in terms of whether anyone would even read it. And then it turned into this really wonderful thing that was some of the most meaningful work I’ve ever done as a writer.
I’ve been saying yes for 25 years, but now I have to start saying no, or else I won’t be able to continue to do the work I love the most, which is writing. That’s been such a lesson for me. But no is the key to liberation. Yes was to nurture this thing, this writing. And no will be to protect it. It’s against my nature to say no, so it’s really a struggle.
Cheryl Strayed, in an interview with Scratch magazine.