Re: Creating a style guide?

Subject: Re: Creating a style guide?
From: Martin Bosworth <martinhbosworth -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 10:54:58 -0400

> I spend a lot of time answering questions posed by my authors, and it
> pays off enormously well: they understand that I'm always willing to
> drop what I'm doing and help them solve their problems, and over time,
> they've come to rely on me and have become eager to work with me. This
> removes many of the frictions in the author-editor relationship and
> makes it a true collaborative endeavor. That also makes it a much more
> efficient process.

My first week on the job, I took time out to help a project manager
with a business case analysis paper he needed to get in the pipeline.
He was already my "unofficial" tour guide for the job, so I was glad
to help him out. He came back and sung my praises on how good my work
was, so not only did I have the satisfaction of a job well done, but
it opened the door for the rest of the team to approach me with work
and help when they needed it.

> Rather than creating a style guide, you may find it more productive to
> schedule a weekly lunch meeting where you informally teach them a
> specific point of grammar, while also using the opportunity to
> socialize. It can be very effective to keep tabs on the kinds of
> problems each individual has, and make time (10 minutes will usually do
> it) to discuss specific problems (one at a time) with the authors and
> help them figure out how to solve the problem. Concentrate on the
> things that are costing both of you the most time, because
> demonstrating a quick payback on this investment of time clearly
> demonstrates your value to the author, while also repaying your time
> investment.

Our weekly meetings center around presentations from team members. My
technical director suggested I compile the most common errors I find
in writing and editing the development docs, and use that as the
thrust of my first presentation. I was embarrassed that I didn't think
of that first---it was the perfect solution. ;)


Martin H. Bosworth
Technical Writer, Telemedicine Directorate
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (
Writer/Editor, (


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Creating a Style Guide: From: Martin Bosworth
Creating a style guide?: From: Geoff Hart

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