My email writing process

Time to write an email!  Okay, I’ve been putting off replying to this person for way too long.  Time to sit down, write this out, and move on with the other things I have to do.  Like looking at cat pictures.

Okay, introductions.  Dear so-and-so.  Wait a minute.  Should I use “dear”?  Or do I go with “To” instead?  That seems so informal, but I don’t know if I know this person well enough to go with Dear.  Oh no, I’m hung up on the very first line!  Whatever.  Press onward.

Okay, first paragraph is going well.  Saying what I need.  Hmm, better change that word, I don’t want to use the same word twice, or they won’t think that I have an extensive vocabulary.  And I want them to think that I’m smart.  Otherwise they will totally judge me.  And I want to be judged only in a positive light.

Second paragraph time.  The first paragraph was basically just acknowledging that yes, I read their comments, blah blah blah, they are important, I’m pleased to meet them, all that stuff.  The second paragraph is where I hide the hook among the candyfloss – my request!  But I have to phrase it properly.  Don’t want to seem demanding.  Or pushy.  But I need it to stand out, too, to make sure that they see it and know it’s there, and don’t gloss right over it.  Maybe I should use bold, or underline?  Whoa, nope.  That makes it stand out way, way too much.  Maybe I can just rearrange the words to make it clearer.

Okay, got that written.  Time to end this.  One last paragraph, only one or two sentences, just to sum up the (small) body of the email.  Very nice to hear from you, thanks for the comments, I hope you can get to my request, thank you in advance!  That thank you in advance part is important.  It makes it seem like I assume that they’re going to do what I ask, so they already feel compelled to obey.  I wonder if that actually works, or, if like most people with psych degrees, I’m totally pulling this out of nowhere.

Great, now on to the closings!  Oh man, almost done with this email.  I like “Sincerely”.  It has a nice, formal ring to it, but isn’t off-putting or intentionally inserting distance.  Also, it reminds me of old timey messages.  The things that ship captains would send back to their beloveds, pining away in lighthouses for them.

Now, just my name.  Nickname?  Do I go with the full name?  Go with the rule of thumb here – if I put the full name of the recipient in the “dear” line, then I use my full name.  If I went with their first name only, and I would feel okay calling them by their first name in person, then they can get the more personal touch of only having me add my first name at the end.  Although I think Gmail cuts this off anyway most of the time, putting it in with the signature, hidden unless the person manually clicks to expand it.

Yes!  Email written!  One more quick read-through for errors, changes in phrasing, and minor editing.  It looks good!  Send!

Whew!  That went well.  How long did that take me, anyway?

What??

I spent a half hour just writing that single email!  It wasn’t even the most important one that I have to send!  That was just a warm-up email, to get ready to write the super important ones!  I’m going to be at this all day!

Ugh, I’m going to just go look at cat pictures instead.  I deserve this break.  I mean, I did just write an entire email.

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