I don’t know how true it is, but there’s a rumor circulating regarding a provision within the proposed Internet sales tax bill. Apparently, Congress wants to tax emails in eCapital bldgxcess of 150 words.

When I first heard this, I was furious. All in all, I’d prefer to see Congress stop spending and giving away money than raising taxes.

But the more I thought about the email tax, the more I liked what I was hearing. Here’s why. Everyone gets tons of emails every day. Most emails are okay. But every now and then I get emails that are as long as my arm and written like a textbook. You know the kind – a solid block of text, no paragraph breaks.

Reading the long emails isn’t the problem. The problem comes when someone sends me an email that’s that long and I somehow feel obligated to respond with a lengthy email – to answer all their questions, to respond thoughtfully and professionally. Because they spent so much time on it, it makes me feel I need to be polite and answer thoroughly.

As a writer, I strive to create extremely well written prose regardless of what I’m writing. Where responding to emails is concerned, that means drafting my response, rereading it for clarity, making necessary changes to improve reader comprehension, editing the piece, rereading again, and finally proofing for typos, wrong words, and so on. It takes a lot of time.

However the shorter emails – those of 150 words or less – are a snap. They’re not too long, so they’re mostly about a single topic. I can respond quickly.

So I don’t care about the proposed email tax. Instead, I’m sharpening my skill to become more precise in my writing, more effective in communicating my intent, more skilled at saying exactly what I want to say and need to say in 150 words or less, and getting on with my life.

It seems to be working. After all, I don’t have trouble with text messages. I can have a meaningful conversation (if that’s what you call it) with someone in about a minute. Granted, they’re not in-depth conversations, but they’re certainly long enough for me to get my point across and to understand what the other person is trying to say.

I’m also spending more time on the phone. That’s my preferred mode of communication anyway. There’s nothing more enjoyable than having a conversation with a colleague, friend, client, prospect, vendor, or friend.

One last thing: If you don’t agree with the proposed tax on emails of more than 150 words please feel free to post a comment to this blog post. But make sure your comment and response doesn’t exceed 150 words. If the Feds learn about that, I’m sure we’ll start to see a tax on blog posts as well as a tax on responses to blog posts.