Georgetown University Professor Deborah Tannen writes about the supportive relationship she has with her two sisters.
In the Sept. 6, 2009 Washington Post, Tannen says that she sends them her manuscripts for their comments and once a book is published, she waits eagerly, yet nervously, for their response.
After reading a draft and sending Deborah Tannen some comments, one of her sisters also followed up with an email saying, “Stop reading this, and go back to writing your book. Love, Mim.”
Professor Tannen says that she has posted that email over her writing desk, and the words continue to support her and help keep her on task.
I’ve always missed having a sister, but I know there are many other ways to have that same kind of support.
A client told me recently how anxious she had been about sending a draft to her advisor, but the kind, encouraging words as well as the constructive comments that accompanied the draft when the advisor sent it back buoyed my client and gave her the will to jump back into her work.
My dissertation coaching convinces me of the support writers need. Often, in coaching I ask my clients to talk through what they are going to write when they get off of the phone with me. Rehearsing the writing clarifies my client’s ideas and also engages my clients, reminding them of why they wanted to write about this particular idea and reassuring them that they do know what they will do next.
Frequently, clients also give me something in return. After asking questions that helped a client become enthusiastic and self-confident about the immediate task ahead, she said, “I’m so glad I work with you.”
I may not have a sister who sends me emails that I can post on my coaching table, but I did write down that comment and I put it where I can see it every day.
A blog post entitled “Instant mood lifter: thank someone for a job well done” (June 24, 2009) by the very successful Escape from Cubicle Nation blogger Pamela Slim revealed that she was moved to tears by receiving kind, thoughtful praise via a tweet. Just goes to show you, doesn’t it?
She said, “Kindness is not a little thing. It is not fluffy, unicorn and rainbow coachy stuff. Kindness heals.”
Have you told anyone recently that you appreciate their help or sent someone hard at work on a big and stressful project a supportive email? It’s a wonderful thing to do.
Have a great week.
All good wishes,
P.S. I appreciate your reading my blog. It means a great deal to me. And I always appreciate your comments.
P.S.S. Smart Tips for Writers, my online newsletter, goes out this week. Register today at my website: www.nancywhichard.com.
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach