As a technical writer there is every chance that you will be criticised for the work you have done. Learning to deal with the criticism is the important part a technical writer has to understand. Once you come to terms with criticism and accept it with the professionalism you used to create the technical documentation and then use it to improve what you have written is the best thing you can do.
By learning to work with your critics is one of the best skills that a technical writer can possess because it will go a long way to helping your technical writing career flourish.
The majority of editors are exceptionally professional in their job and will provide the kind of changes and suggestions that will enhance your documentation. A good editor is one that will put the intended audience first and their only intention is to work hand-in-hand with the technical writer to create the best result possible.
As the technical writer is the person who wrote the words that are being rightly criticised, you will need a fresh pair of eyes to review the document. The document is your creation and you can see nothing wrong with it, but, there is every possibility that because of your familiarity with the document you will miss the errors that the editor will pick up.
However, no two editors are the same. Some editors like to play the bad guy and dispense totally with any form of niceties. They prefer to tell it like it is even if it upsets the technical writer. All they are interested in is getting the job done right and do not care a hoot about the technical writer’s feelings.
The phrase, “don’ take it personally” is not very helpful for the technical writer to hear because it gives them the impression that they are being pacified and that they should just accept the criticism without being able to challenge the criticism.
This frequently used expression implies that anything the technical writer creates is just that and nothing else. Just because you created it doesn’t mean to say that it should have any emotionally hold over you. You have to distance yourself emotionally from what you have written and therefore allow yourself to accept any criticism of your work. Because your main aim is to get the job done as quickly and professionally as possible.
This sort of throw away remark is dangerous because it immediately it gives the impression that any resistance to criticism by the technical writer is just downright petulance and childishness.
With technical writing you tend to find that by overusing certain phrases gives the impression that the writer has of lack of imagination and their writing skills are poor. Therefore, when you hear the phrase, “don’t take it personally,” coming from an editor the conclusion is drawn that this type of remark comes from an editor whose editing skills leave a lot to be desired. The important thing for a technical writer is to not take the “don’t take it personally” line too seriously!
Filed under: Technical Writer
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