Are you the same person in writing as you are in person?
In most cases the answer is no. In writing you have the opportunity to be more organized, thorough, and logical, perhaps even livelier than you are in real life. When you write, you assume a voice, you adopt a pose, sometimes to be persuasive, sometimes to achieve a literary effect, sometimes to make a point.
But always lurking in the writer-reader relationship is the author’s voice, the person behind the words. The reader will play along with almost any game you play, as long as the reader understands and accepts the rules and as long as the connection to you, the writer, seems genuine.
According to the instructor, “Communication goes deeper than language. It goes to the heart of human interaction. To write with a sense of humanity is to recognize writing as a personal transaction between writer and reader. Your reader should never be allowed to forget that behind your words, behind this artifice of language, is a real person, an authentic human being.”
To write is to explore; it’s also an opportunity to discover and shape your authentic self. In this course you will learn the skills and techniques that enable you to connect with your reader and avoid creating distance through artificial-sounding language. In other words, you’ll learn to write with sincerity, honesty, and conviction.
Recommended: Stephen Wilbers, Keys to Great Writing (Writer's Digest Books, 2007).
Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D., University of Iowa, is a columnist, award-winning author, and Senior Fellow of the University of Minnesota's Technological Leadership Institute, where he teaches both written and oral presentation skills. In addition to his on-site training programs, he has taught for the University’s Carlson School of Management, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative Writing. His column on effective writing appears every other Monday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.