Good Writing Begets Good Writing
If by chance you are reading this on a computer screen, and therefore have heard of and might even use, email, then I have a must-read for you: Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Home and Office by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. (N.B. Will is a friend of mine, a fact which has nothing to do with my love for this book.) The authors have a brilliantly focused premise. Email has emerged as a predominant form of communication over the past few years, yet few of us have reckoned with the demands of this new format. They remedy this with a book that can comfortably sit on a shelf with other classic guides such as The Elements of Style, On Writing, Writing Tools, and On Writing Well.
Not only is their writing about writing spot-on, but the authors have in fact prompted more good prose to boot. “Email is like an appliance that we have been helplessly misusing because it arrived without instructions,” writes Janet Malcolm in this wonderful review. She builds on this metaphor later in this nice passage:
For, in truth, email is more like a dangerous power tool than like a harmless kitchen appliance. The more skillful (or lucky) among us have escaped serious injury, but many, perhaps more, of us have suffered the equivalent of burns, lost fingers, electric shocks, and bone fractures. Incautious emailing has cost jobs, ruined friendships, threatened marriages, subverted projects, even led to jail time.
I highly recommend reading the review, and buying the book. By the way, as preparation for a writing workshop I gave to 20 business authors last fall, I prepared this list of my essential resources for writers. It hasn't changed much, other than perhaps adding Send.
Posted by tom at September 12, 2007 06:25 PM