On most Fridays, Evan Peterson rounds up five stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out.
Most writers approach any writing task with great care—even when it’s simply an email. A study this week reveals how much we should care about the quality of our e-mail prose—or maybe why we should direct creative efforts elsewhere.
Also this week: stories about the illnesses of writers, writing memoirs, and the case for writing in the morning.
A novel's worth of email:
A recent survey of users of Cue, a personal assistant app, showed that emailers compose more than 41,000 words each year—enough to produce a novel slightly shorter than “The Great Gatsby.” There is some level of creativity that goes into writing emails. You must tailor the writing to the audience, which prompts the question: Could that creative energy be better spent?
Recently, Dr. John J. Ross wrote a book on the illnesses that have afflicted some famous authors. This review from The Wall Street Journal
is not from the past week, but should be of interest to fans of Shakespeare, Joyce, Hawthorne, and London. More than just the ailments, Raymond Tallis' review mentions great stories about the writers. Jack London, for example, worked nearly 60 continuous hours to finish a novel in the week of his death, despite suffering from a cocktail of ailments that killed him in his early 40s.
Personal writing took some heat from a recent piece in Gawker
, which said memoirs aren't journalism. Firing back in Slate
, Katie Roiphe writes that it's not that memoirs are bad, it's that too many are written poorly. She offers five things that make a good memoir.
Will tablets beat laptops?:
A report from market research firm DisplaySearch predicts 2013 will be the year that tablets take over laptops. They attribute this to shifting market dynamics and a consumer affinity for more screen sizes. What the report doesn't say is that tablets will replace
laptops. Will writers or other content producers ever take their craft to a tablet?
Time of day often determines the writing process. This essay from novelist Roxana Robinson discusses how state of mind at a certain time is what makes morning or night better for some writers. For her, there's a process that involves coffee, breakfast, and reading (but not news).
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.