Write or wrong.

I have been putting off writing this post, because I think it will come off as elitist. I’m hoping that by recognising this from the beginning, you will meet me half way.

Part of my job as a professional writer is sending away writing to get approval from people (outside my field). Too often, said people feel the need to change what I have written. And seven times out of 10, the revisions are not only not better, but actually far worse. Grammar problems, poor diction, redundancies, general convolution, nominalizations. It’s just a mess. I spend an hours going through various changes to fix every mistake.

I have commiserated with fellow writers about this, and they have similar experiences. As one of my copywriting friends put it, “No one interrupts a surgeon to offer advice, so why does everyone think they can do a better job than we can?” Granted, we’re not in school for 10 years, so the comparison is weak. But the point is there: writing seems to be underestimated  as an actual profession.

Here is my theory as to why I think this happens:

1. (This is a general suspicion) If given the opportunity in a project, people will meddle with anything they can, no matter how small the detail, to put their fingerprint on it. I think it’s a compulsion to feel like one’s efforts were necessary.

2.  Because everyone *can* write, everyone thinks they qualify as a writer.In my limited experience, I have found this to be false. Writing is a profession for a reason. It is a craft.

The non-elitist part to this equation (other than me not being perfect) is that writing isn’t magic; if given the proper attention, everyone can learn (even if learning involves reading a lot, regularly). But the fact is, most people don’t learn the craft of composing a written piece. They choose vocations such as engineering, mining, law or whatever, and invest time learning about those things.  And even though writing might be a part of a job description, it’s not the same as taking up a career in it.

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One thought on “Write or wrong.

  1. So true Jen so true. I attended a writing seminar where the teacher read five different paragraphs from five of the students. These people thought they could write but they really couldn’t. Good writing is consistently under valued by those who pay for it.
    Don’t you stop writing!

    Chris

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