Monday, January 03, 2011

The pressure of thank you notes...relieved

Kate Spade Thank You Notes
By ralph and jenny

I'm horrible at writing Thank You notes. Okay, not horrible, but I usually wind them up in my head until I'm paralyzed. I feel horrible about not having written the note yet, but can't actually write it because it has to be just perfect, and then I feel even more horrible, and theresjusttoomuchpressure! "Mary, you're a writer, your note should be better than the average person's!" is what that evil voice in the back of my head says, and I've never been able to just tell it what BS that is.

What I need are some tips to guide me and mostly bring me down to earth so that I can actually just write the darn things, and whaddayaknow, I found some. John Kralik is the author of 365 Thank Yous: The Year A Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, and he lists "10 Tips For Writing The Perfect Thank You Note" in a feature on his book at NPR: Perfect Thank You Notes: Heartfelt And Handwritten

The first eight points really got me to breathe again regarding thank you notes (sometimes I just need a guide for my thought process, and that's what these points are). The final two points really jumped out at me, though.

Point 9 is "Try writing a first draft, perhaps in a spreadsheet. Not only will you benefit from the second draft, but you will always have a list of the most generous people in your life, and the reasons why you should be thankful for them." As a self-proclaimed Queen of Spreadsheets, my ears (eyes?) perked up when I read this. Ooooh, an excuse for a spreadsheet! (A future post may be about facing my spreadsheet addiction...or not.) This would have the added benefit of reminding me that I can write thank you notes, because I have written them before, and here's proof...in a spreadsheet! 

Point 10 is "Write a lot of thank-you notes. You'll get better." A great point. Writing many notes will also wear down the pressure of making each note perfect. The note itself is the point, not the "deathless prose."