Something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, but well, didn’t. But I am writing it now, so make me happy and read it. 🙂
You my humble readership – lest if there is any – know that I am a writer by profession (ish) and that I do write as a measure of therapy.
Of this recently acquired job, I constantly quote my sister on perhaps one of the wisest things she had told me in our twenty-something years, “Wrong place, wrong degree.” Let me explain. A recent English major finds herself as a content writer for a software company. Nothing wrong with that, you say Just a little overwhelming and intimidating when you sit in the midst of IT majors, business and IT majors, computer science people, masters in computer science people and the math gurus.
Since this is a blog post, I took the liberty of not getting to the point as I would’ve done so in those articles I write for work. Being a Content Writer neither allows one to dwell on the Wordsworthian notion of emotion recollected in tranquility nor on >insert killer Robert Frost quote which I have now forgotten<. Sighs. But trust me, there are more perks than you could imagine. I’ll try a point form thing-a-majig so hopefully people would read. Short and minimal wins the day. For textual content that is.
i) Being Out of Place
I think this part was already established yes. But let me tell you how I use this to my advantage. If you are the type who would hermit herself in a little room with lots of sunlight and write like there is no tomorrow if you are paid by the hour, being an English major in an IT company isn’t as bad as it seems.
Speaking for the socially awkward, I-talk-only-when-I-am-most-comfortable segment in society, this would mean that you are entitled to read GoT in the lunch room amidst five other developers speaking in languages dissimilar from your own. #Win
Oh and no, I do not work from home. Unless checking my mail and Drive and changes to Google Docs count.
ii) A Default Proofreader
For those of you who don’t like proofreading, kachal scene. Trust me, it’s not what I like best either. I am the type of person who will not reread her thesis or articles before submitting. I was, rather. Now not only do I reread, I also look out for pedantic errors and now with >undefined period of expertise< am able to point out context-based errors. Fancy huh?
For example, at my workplace, I may neither understand the process of software development nor the nitty-gritties of integration. However, I am able to explain to someone the functions of it and maybe sell it? Uh-oh. I do not like the marketing facet; I did mention that I was a hermit yea? However, for those of you who are up for meeting society and being nice to them, if you can write, you will automatically be able to talk about the product and bingo, make a sale out of it also.
Another thought that struck my fancy. Being a default proofreader has many many advantages. While in uni (I think a general assumption may be granted) all degrees do not provide hands-on experience. They’ll teach you the theoretic part of the job and boom, once you are put out there in the big bad world, you realise that what-Aristotle said and what-Heidegger assumed will not really get the job done. So with this over-exposure to proofreading, not only am I able to tell someone else why their sentence structure is wonky and how best a Platonic theory could be incorporated, but also am able to write better. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
iii) The Layman (or woman) View
I’m not sure how many of you out there practice this, but they always say that there is a grave danger in proofreading your own work. A little contradicting to the previous point, allow me to elaborate through an example. After I am done writing this article, I’ll read through it once, make the required changes and move on to some other work, as I don’t have an alter ego who would proofread as per my whims and fancies. A few minutes or hours later, I will get back to this, read through once more and publish. This is important as in the heat of the moment, we usually are blind to our own mistakes and if I write ‘dog went mad over man’, I might even fail to notice the error. This is also dependent on the content you are writing. If it is for example a SRS (Software Requirements Specification) I am given to proofread, I will not finish it in a day. Even if all I have to do is look for syntactical errors, I know that I would miss out on the leetlest of details and no, I do not expect anyone to re-proofread a SRS. Or wait, maybe there are, I’m not too sure.
Similarly, are the opinions generated within a company of likeminded people. Being the odd one out has its advantages. No one will laugh at you if you point out to a diagram on the whiteboard and make a silly remark. My time here has made me realise one thing: the world is a majority of lay people. While there are groups of people who specialise in a particular area of expertise, most products, solutions, software are sold to companies, who in turn market it to the common man. So, if the common man doesn’t understand how machine to machine communication will reduce their electricity bill that in my opinion is a marketing strategy that needs to be relooked.
iv) Jack of All Trades
As content writers, we write content for the company, for clients, for other companies, about other companies and so on. Basically we get the best of all worlds. As I said earlier, I am required to write stuff that normal people would understand. A press release for example is well, content. If I am to write a release about the company’s products or its employees etc, I am likely to have a better understanding of the overall picture, as opposed to knowing inside-out of only one particular area of expertise. Call it a Jack of All Trades, Master of None but trust me when I say that, most companies search for one person capable of doing many things. Cost effective, noh?
v) Writers Flea Market
So if I thought that anyone could write, as I proudly declare so on my blog, apparently I thought wrong it seems. I would say that the time for writers has never been as great as it is today. Coming to think of it, the colonisers instilled in us the need to document every.minute.thing–note.the.fullstops.used.for.added.impact. So companies need words written: proposals, brochures, books, media releases, product catalogues, and the lists are endless! The eco-system is such that we have been able to create a world that is unimaginable without writers. The economy is fluctuating at a rapid pace that industries are pushing themselves to extreme yoga poses to attract and retain their customer base. In the process of doing so, they need to market, mostly through means of mobile or social media that is accessible to the man on the move. See? We find ourselves in every corner required. Big companies don’t have time to sit and draft out a proposal explaining their new market strategy. Deal may even be so that they haven’t written anything in eons. Ghostwriters, content writers etc are a little undervalued within the industry, but the big guys know that they can’t do without us.