Putting off toddlers is often easy, with writers it’s harder.

The Spotlight feature in the New York Times asks for stories from readers; this note from Hillary Hastings appeared in The Times’s parenting newsletter—the subject was getting a toddler to take a bite of something new:

“When my toddler shouts requests from bed that I can’t, won’t or don’t know how to fulfill, I tell her that “I will look into it,” as if I’m acknowledging an email from work. More times than not she forgets the request and falls asleep.”

I sometimes told writers who were asking for a yes or no on a story idea, “Let me think about it overnight.” What I was doing was taking time to think about how to save the idea with some further talk, or to say no in a way that wouldn’t discourage the writer from coming up with more ideas.

My thinking was there are no bad ideas—some work, some don’t—but always be open to all kinds of ideas. You never know when you might strike gold.

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