Re: What Would You Do With a Writer Who Can't Write?

Subject: Re: What Would You Do With a Writer Who Can't Write?
From: "Robert Plamondon" <robert -at- plamondon -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 13:52:04 -0700

If I were a contractor and had a staff writer feeding me bad material, I
would request further instructions from management. This is a management
issue, after all.

Generally speaking, I'd want a bad writer to work on a neatly encapsulated
project, rather than on bits and pieces here and there. This contains the
damage and allows everything to be good except the piece he's assigned to.
This keeps him from infecting all the projects with his poor quality and
slow work, makes the replacement of his work much simpler if it is ever
attempted later, and is more tolerable to any quality-conscious worker.
Nothing is worse than turning out Frankenstein documents with his parts and
your parts stitched clumsily together.

Obviously, you'd want a crummy writer to be assigned to a document that
already exists in draft form, is of secondary importance, with a distant
deadline, and that you could rewrite from scratch in a hurry by yourself. Be
that as it may, turn him loose, try to be as helpful and positive as you
can, and try not to worry about the damage. I certainly wouldn't copy-edit
his work more than twice at the outside, and preferably only once. You can't
make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. It only annoys the sow.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon
President, High-Tech Technical Writing
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com
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