Re: I had to say it because I was afraid no one else would

Subject: Re: I had to say it because I was afraid no one else would
From: CL T <straylightsghost -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2009 08:07:31 -0700

Beautiful! You've stated it perfectly.

I started this thread and I've gotten a kick out of watching the various
reactions to it. I think I saw a bit more humor and chiding in the article
than I did knives hidden among the words. The lesson I took was "lighten
up!" Something I work towards on a daily basis.

As Tech Writers we all struggle balancing many worlds. Currently I'm
attached to a Marketing Department, yet I write manuals which drip
engineering. I'm always dropped in the middle of fights between "what will
Sell" and "what will Make Sense". Some of the "Responsible Signatures"
realize that I've got a job to do and trust my judgment -- they review, edit
if needed and let me do my job. Others don't, they feel the need to have
that last word.

I no longer fight that battle. It's not one I can win. I could throw my
credentials at them all day! Sure, I've got Co-author credits on a few
books, yes I've got Editor credits on a few books, yes I've written and
published many, many articles, stories, poems, etc. Hell, I even made a
decent living as a Freelance author while going to University.

I could throw those at them and compare them to what they've done and ask
"What right do you have to tell me how to write?"
The answer would be: "I'm your boss, now shut up and write what I tell you".

Honestly? I don't bother letting it burn me. This is a job. It's a field I
enjoy, for now. I chose to be where I'm at because it made sense when the
economy started going south. I knew what I was in for.

So, the point.

A few of you have the choice and the ability to sweep a very large brush
over your canvas. The rest of us have to work on smaller squares. Change
usually comes in small increments. Many of these "words" are put in place by
people with greater influence on our documentation than ourselves, who have
no right to be messing with them. They hear something, somewhere, and spin
it into some sort of shiny uselessness.

Perhaps the article was simply a "Call to Arms" perhaps it was a rant.
Either way, I just thought it was funny and something that made me think
about what I do.

Enjoy your day!


On Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 6:56 AM, Blount, Patricia A
<Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>wrote:

> Good morning, all,
> I've enjoyed reading my Digests these past few days, as I have always
> shared Sarah's violent objection to making up words to suit Marketing's
> whims.
> But you all made valid points... our jobs as technical writers require
> that we COMMUNICATE and in an industry that hasn't even made it to
> adolescence yet, we often must influence the evolution of our language.
> I've never really looked at it that way before and must admit, the
> thought cheers me.
> About twenty years ago, I worked for a commercial baker (you know those
> grocery store white boxes) as a secretary and had been asked to type a
> memo for a marketing manager because his own secretary was out that day.
> It was five pages written in long hand of the most liberty I've ever
> seen taken with our language. Terms like "incentivize" and "grow the
> business" abounded. So used to editing my own bosses' mutilated grammar,
> I blithely edited as I typed. To my astonishment, he came out of his
> office with the typed copy, red as a beet, demanding to know what right
> I had to mutilate his words.
> I found it hilarious that he chose to use the word 'mutilate', which is
> what I thought he'd done as I typed. Needless to say, I was never asked
> to help him again.
> But, I digress.
> My point is, there are soooooo many words the computer industry alone
> has made commonplace. I admit, I am no longer so angered by attempts to
> grab 'mindshare' and rather like the idea of being able to exert some
> bit of influence over people's word usage.
> Sigh... I now have to determine how to handle this gem: "graceful
> recovery". (Shudder) Brings to mind images of tutus and plies.
> Patty B.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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