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Writing creatively in an email client

Have you ever written an epic email? Did it feel effortless? You wouldn’t have written that missive first in Word or Pages, right?

Email can be a liberating medium for the writer. I’ve never figured out why – maybe it’s the notion that, when in an email or webmail client, what I’m writing isn’t really writing. Email isn’t exactly high fiction in its content or poetry in its structure. It’s mostly noise, but sometimes you need that “noise” to trick yourself into thinking that what you’re making has no value and that there’s no pressure. Email excels there – the vast majority of it (spam) isn’t even read, so you’re in good company.

Brent Simmons had analogous thoughts on email’s relationship to blogging a few weeks back:

“[T]o the people who send email, to me or to any blogger: please consider publishing what you write instead of emailing it. Not because email sucks, but because more people than just me should be able to read what you wrote. You have something to add to the discussion.

If it makes it easier to compose in your email app, then that’s fine. That’s a good approach to writing blog posts — imagine you’re writing an email to a friend, but then publish it.”

Email is great for drafting out:

  • Point-by-point rebuttals to articles/posts you disagree with
  • Cover letters (seems like Word et al are just too high-stakes-feeling to make these seem right)
  • Guides (I’m guessing because a significant volume of email is explaining how to use things, e.g., via customer support channels).

I came up with something from scratch in an email client – Apple Mail – today. I’ll post it soon.

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One response

  1. […] These free, barebones text editors are ideal environments for writing poetry. Since they were designed for writing computer code, they also help the writer by numbering each line and eliminating the hassle of wrangling with fonts, colors, and sizes (since they don’t allow you to). Better yet, write it in an email client. […]

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