Briefing Notes Galore!

The thing about it is, I work for the Government of Canada, In a specific department, managing their Employment Equity Act obligations. This involves a lot of writing, as you may imagine. Plans, Briefing Notes, Emails, PowerPoint Presentations etc etc. So you could say, in a manner of speaking, that I do actually write for a living. It’s just a different kind of writing.

Boy is it different.

The irony of government writing is that it attempts to stick to a “Plain Language Policy”, but generally it utterly fails to do so. Have you ever heard of the game “Buzzword Bingo”? There’s a reason that game exists and I often think it was invented by a Public Servant. Government writing is all about the big words and phrases and saying things like “we will be maximizing our synergies” (real life example).

But as frustrating as Government writing is, it is still fundamentally writing, and in fact I consider it to be a genre unto itself. There’s a definite art and skill to it, and I pride myself on my ability to create government content.

Until recently, that is.

My manager at work is a heavy editor and it has definitely taken its toll on my ego, lol. It’s mostly editing for style, not content, but that’s almost worse because it makes me wonder if he thinks I’m a totally crap writer. I have never been edited so thoroughly in all my time in Government (17 years!), or perhaps in my life.

I had a long conversation with my cube neighbours this morning and I really have to learn that 1) It’s constructive for me to see his editing, I can learn from it, 2) I need to take it less personally, and 3) in the end it’s not *my* product, but *our* product.

So it’s not just fiction and poetry that helps me practice. My work does it too. And that makes me happy.

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