Tuesday, June 10, 2008

None of Us are Free

I suspect that if I were receiving a report card today, it would say does not play well with others. And after reflecting on this, I think I've always been this way, to some extent.

I do not like being part of a team. I want to be given a project and told to go at it. If I have to work with someone else, I want them to do their part and let me do mine and for them to keep their mouths shut and not tell me what they think about my work. And I'll do the same.

Now, why am I on about this, you ask? Well, I started a new job. There's the boss, who can give me feedback. That's part of the inherent, unspoken contract between a boss and an employee. There's a tech guy. And there's me... the marketer, the writer.

The tech guy thinks he can criticize my writing. And that pisses me the hell off. Especially when the writing is on a blog.

Ah ha! That was an example of exactly the thing he'd criticize... a sentence fragment.

I'll be more specific. I have a new job as the part-time marketing director for a small company. I am writing a blog on the subject matter of that company. I have worked with the tech guy on the blog because it's on WordPress at his suggestion and I am finding WordPress very user-unfriendly and ugly and it doesn't handle text well, etc. So, I've lots of questions.

Because it's a blog and I'm ghostwriting it, I've tried to find a way to match the conversational tone of my boss and keep it readable. I'm writing about specific subject matter and I need to sound like I know what I'm talking about without being stuffy or pompous. As I've shown here, I think that a blog is a conversation. And I tend to write in a conversational tone, phrasing things as I would say them if I were speaking to friends. I do not write in the formal manner, using all the conventions of correct grammar, as I would were I writing an English paper or an article for a magazine or speaking in front of a group of English professors who weren't also my friends. (You would be shocked at how many of my friends and Scott's are actually English professors.)

In writing this other blog, which has kept me away from here for more than a week, I think, I have used a sentence fragment for effect. I have begun a sentence with And (more than once), also for effect, and I have been soundly called out for those things by Mr. Techy-Smartypants. To my boss!

I met him for the first time yesterday and he gave off a cold and smug vibe that really rubbed me the wrong way. During the meeting, I learned that my boss is hiring another writer who was recommended by this tech guy, who by the way, I now think is a dirty louse for recommending another writer.

My boss says I shouldn't be insulted. He wants me to manage the marketing efforts and not write. But I love writing. LOVE IT. It is the one thing, other than my family and friends, that I am passionate about. Marketing is just something I do. Not what I love... what I wake up thinking about in the middle of the night. I don't compose marketing plans in the shower every day, but I do mentally write... fictional stories, blog posts, love letters to my husband and children, letters to congresspeople, magazine articles.

I know that if I were a better person, a team player, as it were, I'd be egoless about this. I would believe this is what is best for the business and I will be able to focus my efforts on generating great marketing ideas every day if I don't have to write the blog and web content. But I'm not there. I'm not selfless and egoless. I do believe I am a better writer than anyone else my boss will hire. I went to Agnes Freakin' Scott, dammit! No one trains better writers than Agnes Scott.

So, now that we're clear... Dawn doesn't play well with others and thinks she's a better writer than 95% of the people available to be hired as writers and she doesn't like being corrected by know-it-all techies... I feel much better. And I hope you don't think less of me for venting about it. Or for actually having the feelings in the first place. I never claimed to be perfect, right?

I will see letting go of the writing aspects of the job as an opportunity to focus those energies here and on other writing projects and I will try to see focusing on the marketing efforts as my actual job and the building up of those muscles.

Wish me the best.

*Tech dude actually criticized me for writing directly into the blog, as opposed to using a text editor and cutting and pasting. First of all, if WordPress actually came with a built-in spell check it wouldn't matter, and second of all, he must not know who he's talking to. I can only compare it to folks who do crosswords in pencil.

So, y'all, how do you write? Directly into the blog or with a text editor? Do tell, because I think he's insane and presumptuous to believe that I would need to do that.

12 comments:

Suz said...

I hear ya!
I remember when I was on the staff of The Tiger, the Clemson Univ. newspaper, and the editor told me I had to spell check my articles. The nerve! I am a two-time county spelling bee champ!
I write directly into my blog. And I most certainly do not concern myself with sentence fragments, run on sentences, or the like.
But all the words are spelled correctly, other than the random overlooked typo.
English majors, unite! (D is one too!)

Kel said...

First of all...I blog directly into it (no text editor needed), secondly most techie people (especially those who've been in a while) think they are "know it alls" and find change difficult.(speaking as a techie person)

Now that all's been said, I think you should tell mr. techie to shove it. Ask your boss what type of atmosphere he would like to create with the blog and when he agrees with your conversational tone then tell mr. techie to take a flying leap. You don't tell him how to do his technical job and he should stay out of your marketing job, obviously he is not qualified for it if you have the job and he doesn't. Trust me, he wouldn't allow you to put your two cents in about his job and neither should you. Just my thoughts :)
~K

Miss Mobile said...

Directly into the blog! I don't need a text editor! I use WordPress too. It took a little time to get used to it, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it now. Finding that "Show/Hide Kitchen Sink" button really helped me out.

Tell that pompous prick to mind his own business. You don't tell him how to code, so he shouldn't tell you how to write. Or, you could take the other route--tell him that his code is unorganized and that a ninth grader could do a better job. Then let's see what he says.

Jen said...

I also write directly into the blog--never use a text editor. And I think the tech guy should stick to tech stuff! (Notice that I started a sentence with "and"--the horror!!) Don't let this get you down--you're a great writer!

rennratt said...

I write directly to my blog, no text editor.

I sometimes compose on paper at work, then convert/edit/re-compose as I enter it into the blog.

Did your boss follow the advise of Mr. Techie over YOUR writing? If so, I second those before me. I would critique Mr. Techie's job and perhaps recommend others more qualified for HIS job.

I don't play well with others, either. In fact, my alternate title at work is "Don't Make Her Mad".

Good luck!

DCup said...

Let me know if you need me to flatten tech guy's tires. I'm in the neighborhood.

He needs to shut up. Wordpress isn't user friendly and each template seems to come with its own posting abilities.

I blog right into my blog if at all possible. Sometimes I use Word then drop it into blogger, but I don't like to do that.

I have finally gotten your RSS feed (I don't know what took me so long) and I'll be back.

I happen to like your writing style very much.

Dawn said...

Y'all!

As always, you are all too kind and supportive with your wonderful, sweet words.

I have been feeling like a small, petty, mean jerk for writing yesterday's post and I've been trying to find time all day to take it down, but I haven't yet.

I do feel better about the fact that my boss is hiring another writer. It will give me more time to be on the phone like he wants me to be and to generating brilliant ideas and writing in the places I want to write.

Thanks for being such dear and supportive members of my world. You are all such amazing, unique people. It's good to know others think like me.

Now, I'm off to calm my kiddies who seem to be freaking out because there's thunder.

Dawn said...

Y'all!

As always, you are all too kind and supportive with your wonderful, sweet words.

I have been feeling like a small, petty, mean jerk for writing yesterday's post and I've been trying to find time all day to take it down, but I haven't yet.

I do feel better about the fact that my boss is hiring another writer. It will give me more time to be on the phone like he wants me to be and to generating brilliant ideas and writing in the places I want to write.

Thanks for being such dear and supportive members of my world. You are all such amazing, unique people. It's good to know others think like me.

Now, I'm off to calm my kiddies who seem to be freaking out because there's thunder.

Jeremy said...

I, too, write directly into the blog.

Professionally, I don't mind critiques from other creatives, and I'm paid to jump through hoops for our clients, but when account executives try to tell me something, it's not pretty.

Although when I was writing and producing for TV & radio, I can't tell you the number of times an audio engineer offered an idea on the fly that bailed me out.

In any case, I hope the new gig works out well for all parties. I'm glad you're feeling better already.

Mimi said...

As you may have noticed, I start probably every second sentence on my blog with 'and.' And I'm an English professor! So there, tech louse!

(That would've pissed me off, too. Grammar. Grammar is a set of conventional ways of expressing oneself to be understood. The genre in which you are writing -- the blog -- has a set of compositional conventions unique to that format. And those conventions are informal and conversational, as you quite rightly point out.)

Tana said...

A text editor? Ewwww! In school, I used to write my final paper and then (since a rough draft was usually required) go back and write a rough draft to turn in. I did the writing process backwards! Now I just write and check for typos as I go. I admire you for deciding to accept the positive aspects of having another writer on staff, but that still doesn't make it any of the tech's business.

Courtney said...

um.

I do crosswords in pencil...


Can you send me the schedule for the short bus, cuz, evidently, I should be riding it.