Tuesday, August 05, 2008

2 Clients, Similar Lessons

I recently completed 2 projects which were completely different from each other, and yet remarkably the same. One was a brochure for a small business, where I was asked to provide editing as well as to review the document for any content that might be confusing or require explanation for the average reader/consumer. The other was a web site review for a food company, where a similar request was made. It was interesting that in both cases, certain terms and references were overexplained in some places, and completely underexplained in others, for no apparent reason on the part of the original writers. They thought everything was fairly clear throughout, or they wouldn't have even had the documents in this stage. This leads me to further believe in the subjectivity of all writing, and the need for folks like me - EDITORS - to be the objective third party and say "look, this is very clear on p. 1, and totaly confusing on p. 3!"

Why is it so difficult for many of us to write clearly and objectify information? Is it because at times we are too close to our topics? Is it because details merely get lost in translation, much the way a story repeated so many times loses its resemblance to the original? (Remember the game "telephone?")

The other lesson learned is one that I have always maintained, mainly that consistency in writing is one of the hardest things to attain. End result? Lots of red marks on the page, another round of updates, happy clients, an improved final product, and moving on to the next project. Does anyone have a pen?

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