Write Creative Thank-You Notes to Cultivate Your Thank You Network
Say Thank-You Creatively
Do you want to thank someone in an original way they will always remember? If you don’t mind a few weird looks directed at you, then here are some off-the-beaten-path suggestions to try. =)
Setting the Scene
Perhaps you want to express your appreciation from the right angle — “Thank you for the picture frame” doesn’t have the same heart-shizzle factor as does jumping out of a cake and screaming (not only for ice cream but) that, “I love the frame! Thank you for remembering that my favourite wood is cedar, as the scent brings me right back to the old home on the hill, to a time when I felt truly loved — OMG, you actually listen! Your message of love was received loud and clear! I hope my thanks have an equal effect!”
Thus, your reciprocal thank you network is born.
Here’s a general formula for writing a thank you letter. Memorize it; it will be on the test.
Choose a message that conveys how you feel in connection to [whatever they did]. Make it all about them. To really thank someone, thank them in their language. By language, I mean if they love baseball, then taking them to a ballgame would be something they would interpret as being a loving gesture. Do they love peace and order? Then clean out the garage for them and set the dinner table for when they arrive home.
Do they prefer written notes? Then write them something using their favourite pen or colour on a material that has sentimental value to them. I just reread that sentence 3 times and got three different meanings out of it. Don’t colour on their childhood blankey — that’s not what I mean. I mean, if they like wine, pop open a shiraz and drip “I love you” on the white bed sheets. I guarantee that the object of your thanks, will be baffled. Hey, you wanted a creative idea, right?
Okay, fine; use your discretion. Sometimes a simple handwritten “Thank You” says more of what you want expressed than any amount of forced creativity could. The short-and-sweet adds dramatic impact (the kind that doesn’t involve therapy). But it’s boring if not accompanied by a burning look of love fueled by intense desire. So use the impact of brevity when you can’t possibly fit all that you appreciate into one/any word(s) or other mode of expression. (The literal two-word Thank-You note suggested for use only by Romantics, those in a hurry, and those who can’t spell or speak in English.)
To make things exciting, in whichever way you express your thanks, choose something that is YOU as well as THEM. Your passion for them will shine through more strongly when you enjoy the medium as well as the message. Inject some personality into they way you present your message. Writing a letter? If you want to write something and the words aren’t flowing as smoothly as pure peanut butter on a hot stick, or your similes are as disjointed as these, then stop and grab a snack.
Help with Writer’s Block
Back. I’ve contributed to the cause of Emotional Eating for the day. Yet alas, my work here is not done.
Sometimes, the fastest way to re-calibrate and begin to think clearly is to ‘interrupt the pattern’ of your spinning wheels.
Give your mind some other fodder to run on while your subconscious does its work under-the-radar. Not a novel idea, but one popular in the neurolinguistic programming circles: to change a behaviour and thus get a desired outcome, change the stimulus-response.
How? By interrupting your habitual stress response by doing something unexpected and equally as irrational (when you perceive something as stressful), you change your State to one of Bigger Picture Perspective, which in turn creates stronger neural associations in your brain that help you to focus clearly on what-is and not on neurotic-what-ifs.
In other words, if your usual response to writer’s block is to pull out your hair and write in your “reasons why I suck” diary (or not, if you have writer’s block…), why not instead focus on surprise-serving somebody else? Go do the dishes or make a nice salad or sing loudly to a rock classic (this editor recommends Trooper’s Raise a Little Hell, or Pink Floyd’s anything.)?
Next time you feel uncomfortably numb in the Inspiration Muscle group, hop up and sweep the floor for your loved ones. Voila! This new behaviour essentially rewires your brain for greatest utilitarian benefit. Output = a good deed or two, plus you have taken the beginning steps towards adopting an effective and productive new personality for less than a lobotomy! Sounds like a good deal to me.
So where were you? Oh right, you were not-writing. But by now you’ve forgotten that you couldn’t think of what you wanted to say… so now you can go say it.
The preceding article has been an example of Injecting Too Much Personality into Your Writing. You’ll want to tone it down, perhaps focus on what effect / action / feeling you want to inspire in / convey to your reader. Share what is true for you. People like to know how they are appreciated. People respond to Respect and Appreciation by opening up to you and sharing more of who they are. So tell them how important they are to you; affirm their being-ness. It feels good.
It’s really as simple as that.