Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Power of Thank You


Zestful Blog Post #259

Last week I got an email from a high school student in Los Angeles who asked if I would serve as his writing mentor for his senior essay project. As you might guess, I get asked to help writers a lot, from young people to elderscribes (yeah, I just made that word up!), and I have to say no to almost everybody. Because I hate saying no, I sometimes try to give the person a bit of help anyway. In this case, I did a little research and came up with two suggestions for the young man: a possible local mentor, and an article I found that I thought might be helpful to his project.

It’s funny, but when the student wrote back saying thank you, and that he understood, I felt this surge of warmth toward him. Many times, I don’t get a thank-you, and I predicted this young stranger would not bother. But I was happily wrong. I’ve given back-cover or inside-pages book blurbs to authors who never said thanks. Isn’t that amazing? It takes time to do those things. (When they ask the next time, guess what I’m gonna say?) One does not help people solely to be thanked, but it certainly does your heart good when it happens, and you remember it. I’ll always have warm feelings toward certain people I’ve helped who’ve gone out of their way to say thank you, or even send a little gift. (I have my eye on a 2018 Corvette, blue, hardtop, in case you’d really like to get on my good side. Seriously. Awesome car.)


[I kind of think this is a picture of gratitude. It's a prayer rug from the 19th century. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.]

The times I’ve neglected to say thank you (and realized it) still bother me, even though they were when I was young and didn’t really know better. Not long ago I thanked a newsletter editor for highlighting one of my books, and she wrote back thanking me for the thank-you, saying it was “rare to get a thank-you from an author.”

So I guess my humble bit of professional wisdom today is: A thank-you is not only polite, but it actually goes some distance in networking and plain old building of human capital. So, you know, win-win. Such a simple but powerful thing! We’re all much more eager to help someone who expressed gratitude for a prior favor.

I might add, thank you for reading, and thank you for being my friend!

Do you have a thank-you, or a didn’t-thank-you story to share? Tell us in a comment!

And hey, before signing off today, I want to give a call-out to three pals with new (or newer) fiction. They are all good people and good writers!

Neil Plakcy:  In His Kiss

In His Kiss by [Plakcy, Neil ]
  

Jessica Strawser:  Not That I Could Tell

Not That I Could Tell: A Novel by [Strawser, Jessica]


Lucy Jane Bledsoe: (preorder for release date next month)  The Evolution of Love



If I’ve missed noting a new or newer book by you here, lemme know, OK? You have my email addy.
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14 comments:

  1. I've never said it (sorry about that) but THANK YOU for so freely sharing your insights and expertise. I'm always eager to open emails from Elizabeth Sims!

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    1. Excellent, Frances! You're welcome, and I'm glad you stopped by.

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  2. You are so right, Elizabeth! When I get a thank you for my tutoring or even my listening, it makes me willing to do one more round of math facts or one more session of "she did me wrong!" I value it so much that I keep a stack of thank you cards on my recliner table. Writing at least one a day helps keep me in the habit and keeps on my radar. I was so grateful for the cards that people sent after my mom died I even sent them thank yous. You just never know how your thank you will touch someone! Thanks for reinforcing that today.

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    1. Wow, Ona, I think you are a world-class thanker if you do one a day, or even near that!! Very cool.

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    1. You are welcome, Nicolas! Glad you stopped in.

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  4. More words of wisdom from my favorite blog. Thanks. It's sad to think we don't say those two little words enough, but it's true. I was so excited when my publisher put out my first book that I thanked everyone I could think of who encouraged me along the way, from my friends and family to my instructors in the GCLS Writing Academy. I included my publisher for taking a chance on me and my editor for sure. I was astounded to find out later that after all the authors my editor had worked with over the years, I was the very first one who thanked her with an acknowledgment. She was over the moon excited! That's sad. I mean, nice it happened then, but sad it hadn't happened before. Needless to say, I'm very careful to make sure that she never gets left out now.

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    1. That's a good story, Beej. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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  5. Thank you, Ez, for adding zest to my days through your blog posts!

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    1. You're welcome, Pam, and thanks for being such a bud!

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  6. I wish that I had learned at a much younger age the value of expressing thanks. Thanks for this blog and all you do to inspire and teach.

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    1. So welcome, Bev. I appreciate your enthusiasm for this great journey we're all on...

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  7. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your wisdom. Your generosity is a gift to all writers. With much gratitude, Becky.

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