Mark Terry

Friday, November 30, 2007

Remember To Say Thank You

November 30, 2007
This has been a sort of crazy week for me and I should have skipped blogging entirely, but I was thinking about this, not in an angry way, but in a sort of glum, accepting way.

Have you ever asked a writer or anyone else for advice or help? And then they did? Did you say thank you?

Here's why I mention this. A relative of mine wants to be a writer. I got this person's e-mail address and sent him a whole bunch of links to websites I regularly use for my freelance writing business as well as a list of books that I've thought were particularly helpful. I sent it off and never heard anything back from him.

This is not the first time, either. One of my son's friends asked me last year about it and I did something similar, catering my responses to what I perceived to be her level and needs. And heard nothing. No quick e-mail response of "Thanks!" Nothing. Later I ran into her and asked if she got it and got a quick, "Oh, yeah. But I'm too busy to do any of that right now."


The Internet has sure made getting advice, help and contacts easy and quick. But I'm really starting to re-consider offering help to people who ask for it if the assumption is that it's not taking me time or effort to give it.

Look, I'm not talking to any of you readers here. This isn't me soliciting your thanks for blogging about writing. I get something out of it just by writing it and I hope you get something out of it, as well. I enjoy the interaction. The people here I've interacted with have been very gracious when they ask for anything and I've tried to reply in kind. And I don't let this sort of thing get under my skin much. During all my years of struggling to break into writing I rarely made contact with other writers. If I had, it might have helped. The few times I did, the writers were pretty reluctant to help or offer advice, but I thanked them anyway. It's the polite thing to do. It would be in any field.

So here's my suggestion. Whatever your field of endeavor is, imagine someone saying, "Hey, I'd like to go into electrical engineering, music, sales, etc. Any suggestions?" Then imagine spending time offering your best ideas on the subject, then having that person act like you owed them that information.

It gets a bit tiring.

Mark Terry


Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Yeah. For me in music, I mostly give it to college-age students. I end up being interviewed (email) for some project or another, which involves me answering a list of twenty-some detailed questions. I don't mind so much because conservatories aren't renowned for providing information on running a studio or making a living in the real world, and the information isn't readily available.

When I started writing, I had nothing to do with the writing world. I just sat at Borders, wrote, and read books about writing and books full of writing, LOL. But now I'm grateful for the wealth of information on the internet. I'm not sure what else to ask; it's almost all out there. But I'm the type of person that would gladly give someone the shirt off my back, and then turn around and freeze to death before asking someone for help. I don't know why.

12:09 PM  
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