In my line of work, the written word is pretty much our stock-in-trade. Now there are always going to be good writers and bad writers, but all I really expect from anyone is the ability to be an average writer. It’s technical documentation and policy, I don’t need James Michener or Stephen King here. 100 times out of 100, what I’m looking for is a solid draft of whatever document I asked requested. What I don’t need is someone asking every 30 seconds if this or that sentence structure was better or if “and” was preferable to “or”. You’re asking these things without giving me context… and that makes the questions seem random and chaotic rather than just annoying.
I’m trying to go easy because I fully understand that it takes a bit of time to really get how things are supposed to flow. That’s fine. But when I ask for a draft, that’s really all I need. I’ll make the editorial decisions and rearrange sentence structure on the fly. That’s why they pay me the not-as-big-bucks as I’d make in the private sector.
Editorial Note: This is the first in a series of previously unpublished blog’s appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.