Writers and Writing

One of the problems with authors is that they take pride in their work.  Normally this would be considered a good thing leading to a more fully developed and all around better product.  If the author is able to crank out bestselling novels, such as J. K. Rowling, it works.  Unfortunately for many writers this is not the case.

Many important documents are not the result of the effort of a single person, but instead are a distillation of the work of multiple people.  There are at least two major factors to this observation.  The first is that no one person tends to have all of the answers.  When a group is working together the best that can be hoped for is that a single member of the group will have the answer.  In many cases the answer is unknown and a plausible recommendation is synthesized (a fancy word for “cobbled together”) among the members.  This resultant idea was unknown to any of the members before they worked together and if it is truly a new idea, it is therefore untested and may in fact not be successful.  The end result is that no one person in the group can claim the idea as their own.

The second major factor is that once the idea develops it normally is recorded in some written form.  The document then makes the rounds through the group members, each of whom may view the concept differently.  Even if they view it exactly the same (unlikely if not impossible) each would express  it in a different manner.

“It was a blinding light.”

“The light shone with a cold white brilliance.”

“The dark was shattered by a bright light.”

“The illumination was estimated to be well over one million lux.”

“Damn, but that’s bright!”

Personally, I like the idea that the view that the group develops is different and that the written result does not reflect any one style.  Think of a noteworthy document such as the Declaration of Independence.  Virtually every section of Thomas Jefferson’s draft document was debated, reworded or even stricken.  To the end it even got down to quibbling about whether “unalienable” or “inalienable” was the correct form of the word.

So pride of authorship must often give way so that a better product can be reached.

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