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
Jessica Strawser: Not That I Could Tell
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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