I do a lot of different writing. There’s solo work, like on my personal sites, there’s writing for other sites (rare, but it happens), there’s writing recaps of events, there’s summaries of meetings, there’s project plans, and then there’s the weirdest posts of all.
Writing by committee is something I rarely do. Usually I write a post, bang it out in one go, and then if it’s a post that needs approval, I send it off to whomever edits and tell them “Do your worst!”
When I write for someone else’s site, like my company’s site, I remove my ego from the equation and write what I think will best suit them. That’s actually hard to do. I want to strike a balance between boring staid writing (which I actually know how to do, thank you The Bank) and the quirky fun writing my current company is known for. We’re irreverent and fun. We should feel that way.
Recently I wrote a very tech-heavy post about server things, but I wanted it to be accessible to the masses. That meant I had to remove jargon, simplify explanations, and change my expectations. If I was writing it just for people who ‘got tech’ it would be one thing, but I knew we were aiming this at people who didn’t know and didn’t really care to know all the messy details of why their sites were fast.
In the end, with the help of my coworkers, we came up with a post that touched on jargon and technical terms while explaining them and not talking down to people. It’s a middle ground that isn’t perfect, but it should inspire the people who get interested by the new terminology to go and Google things and look them up. And the rest can have new buzzwords to use in bingo with their friends.
Writing like this is hard. It’s harder than writing for myself or my own sites. I’m writing for a wider audience with this sort of thing and I have to meet the needs of the company and the readers. I can’t just explain something for the sake of explaining, I have to explain it in a specific light for my company.
This leads to a concept called ‘writing by committee.’ A whole large group of people give their ideas and want to express certain opinions. That can make an article a jumbled mess and a garbled voice. Thankfully, my company doesn’t insist on this. They said “this is what you need to write about” and then I write it. When I’m done, they explain why certain sections don’t work, suggest changes, and we go through multiple re-writes. But, at the end of it all, the cohesive voice remains because I’ve written it mostly myself.
It’s an interesting experience to work through but, like working with a good editor, it can make the end result better. Those other viewpoints will help make sure you consider all the angles before you publish, and you’ll level up.