Cutting the Clerical Handcuffs

by Oct 20, 2012Composition

Updating documents authored by others, I keep crashing into one of the worst aspects of Microsoft Word. That would be crashing — over code problems when pasting numbered lists, images, and text pulled from Web pages. So, Google Docs it is. Sometimes things don’t take, but they rarely crash the document and cause me to lose work. I’ve learned two big lessons about working with content, though: 1 – Collaborating on documents does not require tracked changes. I was afraid to let it go. I’ve found my collaboration teams work fine without it. 2 – Somewhere along the line, people came to expect that everyone should demonstrate “power user” skills in every communication. In fact, it makes much more sense to get information down in the most minimally formatted text that will do the job, and have the last writer or editor add the formatting at the end. It is ridiculous to have two or three colleagues in a row staying up late to make nice looking documents whose flourishes cause it to crash on the next editor.
Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.