The result of good writing, according to William Zinsser, is the personal transaction that takes place between the writer and the reader. The clearer and more naturally the writer’s self comes through, the stronger the connection and the greater the transfer of energy from writer to reader.
This reminds me of what Sarah Kay has said about spoken word poetry. According to Kay, becoming a spoken word poet has three distinct phases: 1) I can; 2) I will; and 3) I am. It is in that last step when the poet speaks not with the intention of saying what listeners want to hear, but with the intention of sharing what she knows to be true. That personal truth is what yields the most genuine personal transaction.
But spoken word poetry is inherently more personal than writing. The ability to see and hear the speaker facilitates the personal transaction in a way that is not possible when you are bound to the written word alone. Zinsser talks about warmth and humanity, which are the two things that the rest of his book go in search of. I’m looking forward to reading more about how to convey those sentiments in writing, with the goal of building up the capacity for personal transactions between myself and those who read my words.