The tick of approval? And, of course, that is what the sign represents. ‘I like this; I approve; well done; pat on the back’. Those are the meanings which I used to understand the tick to say. Essays marked with ticks here and there were a boost to whatever writing had been completed. A quick and instant recognition of something done well. Yes, a few words at the end of the piece to say what appreciation those ticks were showing, was obviously important too. But that little tick, for me, created the first moment of feeling that I was achieving something worthwhile.
However when marking exam papers nowadays the norm is not to apply the tick but to write a short summation in the margin for what that tick might have acknowledged. I can see that the method is a better teaching tool but I still want that burst of ‘I like this’ or ‘wow’ which so often the summation reduces to academic wordplay.
I was also tricked recently when having read an interesting article by Shaunta Grimes on the value of reading books on writing fiction in https://getpocket.com. I ticked the option at the top of the page assuming that it would show my approval and therefore save for future reference. This is, of course, what happened but I was aghast when it disappeared completely. As you will realise, those more savvy in the world of computer norms, it was tucked away in a category called Archive.
Approval, other people’s appreciation and enjoyment, is what all writers want; though that is not necessarily the driving force to write. And, yes, the ‘tick’ in the form of a summation in language is all important, especially if is it identifies what they liked. Selling books is good, but unlike pictures, for which a purchase must mean the buyer likes what they see, a book has to be read before the approval can be given. Which is back to my point which I’ve written about before, the value of reviews. Another reminder to me of my New Year’s resolution; I have many reviews to write for I’ve read so many good books in the last few months. I must give my tick of approval.