Jennifer talks about the written word…
When my kids text me in all capital letters, I ask them why they’re yelling at me. Usually, they’re not, but they’re too lazy to turn off the “caps lock.” Sometimes they’re trying to make a point. Most times, they don’t know why I’m objecting to the way they’re texting.
When I receive emails from various people, I often wonder if they mean to sound the way I’m interpreting their messages. It’s not the words I don’t understand, but the way they are using the words and the tone that appears to come across the computer screen.
As writers, we’re expected to be word experts. We are supposed to convey emotions through what we write. We try to “show” and not “tell.” It’s a constant battle, and one that requires many rounds of editing until I think I get it right.
Yet in casual written messages—emails, texts, social media posts—I am sometimes misunderstood. So what is the difference? Am I putting less thought into the messages I send to people I care about than the words I write for the general public? Am I reading too much into the messages I receive? And how do we fix it?