Last week, The Writer talked about how she missed the art of letter writing. Today her rant will be about the loss of grace. Grace is an undervalued trait. Most people don't miss it because they don't know what it is. Grace in publishing (and other businesses) means tending to the niceties. It's not just about being courteous. It's how people present themselves in general.
I can see this is going to be tedious. What does this have to do with writing?
Here's an example. In the old days if someone wanted The Writer to come speak, she would call. The Writer could either come or not. Either way it was a pleasant exchange with The Writer saying she was flattered to be asked and the other person saying maybe they could work out a visit at a later date. Flash forward to 2008: The Writer gets an e-mail from someone, asking if The Writer is available for a certain date. The Writer writes a courteous response, expressing her regrets if she isn't able to come on that day, but is willing to try for another date. No response to her response. No small reply thanking The Writer for considering the visit or whatever.
Lack of grace isn't limited to people asking The Writer to come speak. It's across the field: editors, salespeople, bookstores, agents . . . people are too busy to take an extra two seconds to finish a conversation properly, to wrap up a transaction or event.
If everybody did that, they'd keep writing emails forever, never "wrapping it up."
You know what I mean. A simple "thank you" is all that's needed.
Are you through now?
Next week on Writing Monday, The Writer will revise the Miss Manners column--