HomeRoast Digest


Topic: a lot harder than roasting coffee . . . (34 lines)
1) From: dewardh
Jim:
<Snip>
of "...conversational nudges, encouragements, grease if you will..." to
e-mail?
Writing e-mail is not different from writing a letter, or an essay, or any 
other written communication . . . and the "skills" required of the reader are 
not different, either.  The "problem" comes from the assumption (derived 
perhaps from the "immediacy" of the medium) that e-mail is "conversation", and 
should be held, somehow, to the rules of conversation.  The "conversational" 
assumption leads to parallel flaws . . . people write e-mail carelessly, and 
they read e-mail just as carelessly.
While one might argue that "good conversation" is an "art" (and a mostly lost 
one ) there can be little doubt that written communication is both an art an 
a skill, an art and a skill which "comes naturally" only to a favored few.  The 
rest of us struggle with it (or write poorly and just accept the consequences). 
 But "writing" can be learned (and "reading" can, too).  In my experience the 
best way to learn to write *is* to learn to read . . . by reading (and 
studying) those masters of the written word (and there are many) who have 
managed, and do manage, to write in ways that convey both information and 
emotion.  Pick up, for example, something like Mark Twain's "Life on the 
Mississippi" for an example of a writing "style" that is at once clear and 
concise, and full of subtlety, insinuation and yes, "emotion" too.
It is, I'll grant, a lot harder than roasting coffee . . .
Deward
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