In Life, it helps to learn to wipe your own backside

One of my major frustrations in the last fortnight has been someone who keeps coming back to me for the same information – which was given to her/him a couple of months ago. The revenant activity is not because s/he can’t find the info I gave her/him in the first place. There have been several fulsome emails and directions to other sources of the info s/he needs. S/he has been handed the keys to the kingdom

But s/he is lazy and wants someone to do the work of finding an agent/publisher for her/him. This person cites “being extremely busy due to a day job” as the reason for finding the task “too hard”.

Well, welcome to the world of writing.

Most of us hold down day jobs and have to fit our writing in between the cracks of earning a living, spending time with family and friends, eating and – lest we forget that most wonderful of past-times – sleeping. Sleeping is kind of a non-negotiable.

This brings me to another point about favours and soliciting them: when you ask someone for a favour you are asking them for their time. The least you can do is value that time. The time someone spends doing you a favour is time they could be spending writing and moving their own career forward.

So, you know what? Don’t be a time-suck. Don’t be an ingrate. If someone does help you out, if someone does you the kindness of donating their time to your cause, then do the right thing: take that information and use it. Do what has been suggested. Do it in a good and timely manner – do not come back to that person weeks or months after they have done the favour and say “Aw, yeah, I kinda didn’t do it coz I found it daunting and now I want you to go back over everything again.”

This is the professional equivalent of asking someone to wipe your backside and is about as respectful. The answer will probably rhyme with “firetruck cough”.

If you have not made good use of the information and time given unto you, then do not go back to the source and ask for more time and more information.

Yes, I am wearing my grumpy pants and have accessorised them with grumpy beret, grumpy pumps, grumpy shirt, grumpy earrings and a severely pissed-off handbag.

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23 Responses to In Life, it helps to learn to wipe your own backside

  1. So very true! Equally irritating are those people who ask for a favour that would involve considerable time and effort without so much as a ‘please’ or ‘thank you’.

  2. angelaslatter says:

    Ah, yes! Manners have gone the way of the dodo!

  3. Cat Sparks says:

    my personal favourite is still ‘read my 140,000 unpublished manuscript for me and tell me what you think’

  4. angelaslatter says:

    I think … firetruck cough!! 🙂

  5. Gary Kemble says:

    Does this mean it’s a bad time to ask you to help me find a publisher/agent?


    I’m joking, I’m joking — put down the knife!


  6. Alan says:

    It’s especially annoying when prefaced with, “This won’t take you long…”

  7. angelaslatter says:

    *brain pops* And you a man with an OzCo grant!!!!

  8. angelaslatter says:

    That’s justifiable killage, right? Not a court in the land would convict …

  9. Alan says:

    Not one. Not a chance.

  10. Mark Deniz says:

    I once claimed that the wife lived on Grumpy Pumps Street. Is that where you got them?

    You could always ask them to wipe their own backside with the MS that Cat got…

  11. Felicity says:

    Oh! Yes! This has been happening to me in a big way lately.

    It would appear that I am expected to cheerfully be on call as a reader, tutor, critiquer, mentor, editor, dictionary, thesaurus, and foot-rubber to anyone I know who suddenly has a whim to write something themselves. And they’re astonished when it wears thin after the 50th time they treat me as their personal free fulltime writing resource.

    On average I have about ten minutes on any given day in which to scratch myself and, surprisingly, I don’t wish to spend those precious moments killing myself in order to offer services that are readily available elsewhere via more appropriate mediums, with a little effort from the individual seeking said services.

    Who, when I point them in the right direction, doesn’t WANT to seek said services (except from me) because they “don’t have time”.

    Oh, really?! ME EITHER!

  12. angelaslatter says:

    There is much rage in this one 🙂

  13. angelaslatter says:

    I trust she thumped you into next week for that.

  14. Alan says:

    You have no idea!

  15. Alan says:

    By which I mean, you’re exactly right.

  16. Gary Kemble says:

    I sometimes get angry when I ask *myself* to read my *own* unpublished manuscripts.

  17. angelaslatter says:

    I understand.

  18. Felicity says:

    Yes, my Rage Fu is strong.

  19. Got another last night – still no ‘please’! It would help too if they declared themselves fans of one’s work …

  20. angelaslatter says:

    Good grief.

  21. I sent a thoughtful, polite, and somewhat lengthy email explaining that while I couldn’t help regarding questions A and B, here are the answers to questions C, D, E and F, but they didn’t even write back to say thanks.
    Silly me to think they would, really …..

  22. angelaslatter says:

    Some of these are awesome 🙂