Monday, November 28, 2011

"Here's to red pens!"

Once upon a time I sort of inherited a company department with a stable of tech writers.  Prior to this I'd always worked alone and this "promotion" marked the beginning of my career's downward slide, because I'm really no damn good at inspiring others to their finest efforts.

But one thing I was always very good at, and considered very important, was copy editing.  "My" new writers didn't agree, and the most controversial and second most painful thing my job entailed was getting them to go along with it.  I actually had a writer who disregarded my wishes to the extent that he ignored the revisions and delivered his unedited draft to the customer.  The customer - who was paying big bux for this - called to express his dissatisfaction with a draft that, among many other problems, misspelled his company's name, in big bold letters, right on the title page.  That guy, by pure dumb luck, wasn't related to the boss which meant I could can him.

Then there was the dissatisfied employee who sent his resume' in answer to a blind classified ad I'd posted, unaware that he was sending it directly to the desk of the person with whom he was dissatisfied.  I marked it up in red pen with helpful suggestions for improvement and mailed it back to him.  Neither of us ever said a word about it.

That was purely the most unpleasant job I've ever held, and I remember it clearly and with not the slightest shred of fondness.  Got to thinking about it while reading this piece, called "What Editors Think of Writers." 

Synopsis: They try not to.

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