I grew up in the Midwest were people are generally pleasant and say please and thank you. I thought this was the way things were in the world.
And then I moved to the South.
If manners in the Midwest are a condiment, they’re a heaping side dish in the South chock full of syrupy pleasantries. I loved it. I loved the not just “thank you” but “thank you, darlin’ aren’t you so sweet?” I loved the way children were raised to say “”yes, ma’am” and “yes, sir” when asked a question. I loved the way people would willingly let you in traffic and with a friendly hand wave to accompany the gesture. The South is full of over the top goodness.
I moved back the Midwest, but I’ve tried hard to instill Southern manners in my younger children. Some days I’m successful, others not so much. It’s a work in progress yet it’s an important part of parenting, teaching our children to appreciate when someone does something for them.
This has been on my mind in regards to the writing world. When we write our babies, we need people to review our work. We need critique and beta readers to point out the things they like and also the things they think need work. Some people are nicer about this than others, and honestly, that’s a whole other post. The point is, other writers read and critique your work and take their valuable time to do it. They could be writing on their manuscripts, or spending time with their family or friends, yet they took HOURS to read your masterpiece. Hopefully, they enjoyed it. Maybe they didn’t. Nevertheless, no matter what their final conclusion is, no matter whether you agree with their opinion or not (and honestly, I don’t always agree, no one does) THEY DID THIS FOR YOU. They send it back and you say THANK YOU.
I am continually astounded by the number of people who don’t.
It’s not just happening to me. Lately, I’ve heard other writers mention the same thing. They send back a beta read or critique and never hear a word. I understand hurt feelings and frustration, but in my opinion, a thank you is still in order. Besides, after their words have sat around awhile, you might realize that they had a point. All the more reason to thank them.
I’m taking a new approach to critiquing, a little bit of tough love. If I critique or beta read a few chapters and I’m not thanked, I’ll let it go as an oversight. But if it happens again, I’m going to respectfully decline. I deserve a little appreciation. And so do you.
What I’m listening to: Evans Blue, Cold (But I’m Still Here)