It Only Takes Five Seconds: Three Benefits of Saying “Thank You”

“Ready.” James looked at his stopwatch, then glanced up at Harold. “Get set. Go!”

“Thank you.” Harold grinned.

“Ah, now that wasn’t so bad, was it, Harold?”

“Nah! It took less’n five seconds to say it.”

James put his arm around Harold’s shoulders and steered him toward the store’s snack bar. “Exactly.”

James obviously believes saying “thank you” is important. And it is! Those two little words carry lots of power. What makes them so powerful?

They express appreciation for whoever we’re thanking and tells them we don’t take them for granted. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. This feeling of worth is a good motivator for a person to continue doing good deeds for others.

Saying “thank you” is also great from a business perspective. It’s so seldom heard nowadays that whenever someone utters it or demonstrates it in some way, that person stands out from the crowd. Sometimes this will  open doors for wonderful opportunities which may not have come  otherwise. People remember “thankers” easier than they do the  ungrateful.

Saying “thank you” helps people live happier lives. When we say these words, we’re focusing on others instead of ourselves. Cultivate a habit of   showing gratitude. According to scientific research, people who say “thank you” have better mental and physical health than those who don’t[1].

What are some other benefits of saying “thank you”?

Thank you for visiting my website. Till next week, friends!


[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/#6207bb0b183c%5B1%5D

Procrastination: One Writer’s Thoughts

“I’ll do it tomorrow.”

How many times have we heard that statement, or a similar one? I’ve said it before, so I plead guilty. However, if we expect to succeed as a professional writer, we can’t afford “to do it tomorrow.” We must write. And we must do it today, not tomorrow, because when tomorrow comes we’ll likely repeat that same mantra. Hard study and work, these are the keys to making it as a writer.

In fact, so important is hard work that the Bible’s Book of Wisdom (aka Proverbs) repeats the need for diligence twice:“[Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:10-11, KJV). In Proverbs 24:33-34, we read these exact same words.

As writers, then, let’s not be lazy. Let’s not procrastinate. The only way we’ll sell our articles and stories and books is to write them, then submit them to agents and publishers. Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.

1.         DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY FAILURE.  See it as something positive. Often the  best way to learn and grow is through failure, for it is through failure that we discover mistakes and learn how  to correct them. These lessons learned can then be applied to our manuscripts. Failure is not failure unless we allow it to be. Use it as a learning experience.

2.         HAVE PASSION. Without passion, nothing ever gets done, or if it does, it’s not done well. I see three ways to address this issue. (a) Start writing anyway, and see if passion   begins driving us. Sometimes it will. (b) Ask the Lord to put a passion within us if writing is His will. (3) Quit writing. If passion never comes, there’s no sense in trying to write professionally.   Writing requires lots of time, lots of sacrifice, and lots of mental  “elbow grease.” Those without passion are those who procrastinate.

3.         NEVER SAY “I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.” Only literary geniuses write  professionally “overnight.” For most of us, learning to write professionally takes a long  time. The only way we’ll get good enough is to write every day. Once we  understand  this, we’ll be less likely to procrastinate.

4.         DON’T GET INTIMIDATED. If a big writing project looks overwhelming, don’t get  intimidated. Tackle it! How? A little at a time. Write a certain amount each day – a  certain number of words, a certain number of pages, a certain number of chapters – whatever works. Eventually, the project will reach its end. If a deadline is involved, figure out how much can be done each day to reach the deadline, then write accordingly.

Don’t put things off, friends. Tap those laptop keys. Till next week!

Beats, Part 2: Character Enhancement

Last week, I discussed the dangers of overusing beats. Though we must use them, we must also be careful to place them at the right spots in our narrative’s dialogue.

Another “beat issue” we need to avoid is this: writing trite. Trite words and phrases and figures of speech are easy to spot. They’re the first things that come to our mind while we write. Why? Because we’ve heard them so much and read them so often, they’re stored in our subconscious and usually pop out on the page during our writing process. Using them in our first draft is fine, but we do well to change them during our revision.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

What are some trite beats? A few examples: he smiled, she shrugged, he laughed, she giggled, he clenched his fists, she sighed, he frowned, etc.

Personally, I think using such beats occasionally is fine, but they shouldn’t be prevalent in our story.

Good beats enhance our characters. They are fresh, original. Through well written beats, readers gain a better understanding of our story’s actors, which is why we need to know them intimately ourselves. Readers will observe their personalities, quirks, character traits, likes and dislikes, etc.

Here are a few examples:

John spooned the whipped cream off his strawberry shortcake and disposed of it in a sandwich bag. He wrung his hands. “Ah, now I can enjoy my dessert.”

Here, instead of telling readers in a straightforward manner that John doesn’t like whipped cream, they first see this by his beat and then by implication through his dialogue.

“I’ll be back.” Jane crept over to a corner in the library, pulled out her cell phone and punched in the number. The sign at the library’s entrance said “no cell phones.” Well, she wouldn’t get caught.

Here, we learn that Jane doesn’t abide by the rules. The library she’s in does not allow cell phones, but what is she doing? She’s using one! Without our telling readers she doesn’t care about rules, they observe this trait through her actions.  

One more “beat issue” to avoid: do not use them after a tagline(speaker attribution), such as in the following example:

Wrong: “I’ll be back,” Jane said. She walked down the hall to answer the doorbell.

Correct: “I’ll be back.” Jane walked down the hall to answer the doorbell.

Use beats, by all means! But use them carefully and wisely, and write them in a fresh manner.

Till next week, everyone.