Writing Well: Not just for Novels

It’s me again, the college intern, here to talk about writing effective emails. During my time at university, I’ve experienced first hand how beneficial writing well can be to aspects of life not associated with writing for writing’s sake. Many of the rules I try to follow in creative or critical endeavors apply to daily tasks like writing professional emails, personal notes, or in my case, answers on tests. In any writing that I do, I try to keep in mind two specific questions: what is being asked of me, and who is going to read this? Then I read what I wrote. Always. I don’t care how short the message is – I will always read it before sending it off into the world. In creative or academic writing, it is all too common for writers to leave out elements of plot or important evidence that they themselves find obvious or apparent. This problem often crosses over into personal or professional written communication. As many people have probably experienced, it is extraordinarily frustrating and inconvenient to send someone an email that asks multiple questions and to receive an answer that only addresses one. While this often results from poor reading, it translates into writing that needs constant clarification. In a professional setting, this calls for extra steps and a longer time to relay important information. When writing lengthier works we have more time to edit and re-edit our compositions, making them as clear and concise as possible. But with shorter, everyday writing, getting it right on the first try will save everyone the most time. So before hitting the reply button, try rereading both the email sent to you and your response, making sure all the necessary information is there.