Writing

How To Write A Halfway Decent Letter

  • November 23, 2010

The other day, I received the strangest email from someone whom I’d lost touch with about 10 years ago. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings here, so I’ve decided not to include the letter or the name of the person who sent it. Let me just say that it didn’t make any sense to me and that I spent quite some time reading through it trying to figure out what the person was trying to say. It was so poorly written that it actually gave me a headache. I thought that printing out a copy would help me be able to figure out what the person was trying to say. Printing it only made the problem worse, so the email went into the trash.

I have seen a plethora of books out there that make an attempt to make people better writers. A few handful of books actually deal with writing letters and correspondence. What confused me the most is that the person in question just so happens to be an extremely intelligent individual with a college education and a very successful real estate business in New York City. One would hope that if someone does posses a college degree that they might be able to write a friendly letter to someone that would be able to communicate at least one very simple idea. Apparently, a degree does not always include basic written communication skills.

This letter, among a few others that come to mind that have been sent to me over the years make me wonder if I should write a book of templates on how to write letters. For example, how to write a break-up letter, how to write a ransom note, or how to write a letter to someone to let them know that you’re not going to pay off your enormous gambling debt and at the same time ask them not to get too irate over it.

The future is wide open for me and my book-writing career thanks to this very odd letter I read the other day. So, thanks to LJ from NYC for the inspiration!

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