Original Post by Professor Keith Hay:
Thank you for the great responses. I would, if it is okay, like to shift gears a bit. I think that it might be fruitful to reflect on what kinds of writing we find easy and what we find challenging and why. Over the years, I have written letters to the editor, opinion pieces, papers, memos, drafted decisions for the PUC, and done several other types of writing. One that I found the most challenging was to draft testimony for cases before the Public Utilities Commission. As a convention, you ask yourself a question and then answer it. The aim is both to inform and convince but you are often doing it in small, bitesize pieces. I hope that example helps and I would encourage each of you to share your thoughts.
The scenarios that do not have a lot of expectations are the most challenging for me. The insurance company email was the easiest for me to write because it called for a factual focus and there was not any emotion involved. The argument is easy to organize because there is already a clearly agreed upon structure between the writer and the audience. It is easiest for me when the purpose of communication is to work together to get something done. On the other hand, opinion pieces have so much more room for creativity which makes it more challenging for me. The audience is also quite broad. So, it makes it harder to connect with the entire audience.