Writing Wednesday – The Gratitude Email

Leslie’s desk

I’m a big fan of marketing coach and teacher Dan Blank of We Grow Media, who advocates what he calls a human-centered approach to marketing. Yesterday, in a Zoom session, he talked about putting joy in our marketing and promotion, and suggested making a regular practice of sending “gratitude emails,” short thank you notes to someone who has inspired us, encouraged us, or otherwise influenced us, particularly in our creative work.

My first was an actual snail-mail letter, to a 90+ y.o. Jesuit who taught music when I was a college student at Seattle University more than forty years ago. In search of a break from academics, I signed up for classical guitar lessons, even though my guitar playing was limited to folk songs and singing and playing with a group at Mass. My teacher recruited me to join a trio formed by a music major named Karen. I was definitely the weak link. One evening the three of us gathered in my dorm room to practice for Karen’s upcoming senior recital. She had the brilliant idea to ask Father Waters, the dorm rector, to join us. As we played a modern atonal piece that had me stumbling, he stopped us and gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. “They’ll only know you made a mistake,” he said, speaking of the audience, “if you tell them.” Meaning, of course, through my reaction. It’s a lesson that goes far beyond music performance, and one I’ve never forgotten.

I’m not expecting a reply. I simply wanted to say thanks, and I hope, put a smile on an elderly priest’s face, as the memory and writing the letter have put one on mine.

What do you think? Might a week—or more—of gratitude emails help you find more joy in marketing your books? Reconnect with an old friend? Reassure someone who’s struggling? Add a smile where it might be needed?

(And no, this is not an invitation to thank me, though of course, I always like hearing from you!)

4 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday – The Gratitude Email

  1. Leslie,

    You didn’t ask for a gratitude email but you’re getting one from me, nevertheless! I’m grateful for our long friendship and the extensive help you’ve given me. I’ve learned so much from you and pick up new tidbits of knowledge every time we meet.

    Years ago at the Yellow Bay Writers Workshop, the wonderful Carolyn See advised: “To succeed, you need to write 250 words a day and one nice little note.” Back then, she meant snail mail. Today it translates to the gratitude email.

  2. Just catching up with my emails. This one really tweaked my heartstrings. I had the privilege once of living for 5 years in my hometown (1500 souls) after 25 years away. I ran into many of my teachers. I could never bring myself to call them by their first names, but I was able to reminisce with them and say thanks in very specific ways: “Thanks, Mrs. Bramlet, for teaching me how to hem a skirt and bake cinnamon rolls,” and “Thanks, Mr. Rose, for giving me the John Philip Sousa award in band my senior year.”

    You’re spot on about gratitude being important, and I plan to take that human-centered approach to the marketing of my writing. Thanks for the nudge!

Leave a Reply