Throughout my career I have been tasked with creating, reviewing, and editing documents. Prior to taking this Technical Communications class I would have given myself an A for creating documents, a B for reviewing documents and a D for editing documents created by my peers. Because I have always struggled with editing, I spent quite a bit of time on last week’s readings and assignments.
In the past what I thought was editing was a critical review of a document that didn’t include the 4 levels of editing approach. The results of this type of editing left a lot to be desired and really didn’t help the document creator. I typically only found major gaps in information and flaws along with the typical grammar and punctuation mistakes. Really all I was good at judging was overall professional appearance.
I found myself being overwhelmed when someone would ask me to edit his or her work. Because of my nature, I struggled to compartmentalize their work and often would just rewrite the entire document in my own words instead of editing the words that were already on the page. In hindsight, I can see how this was ineffective, a waste of time, and could be viewed as offensive.
The 4 level approach to editing helped me lay out a compartmentalized approach to editing documents created by others and myself. Using this approach I read the document focusing on only the context of each level and not thinking about the document as a whole. This process allowed me to provide substantial feedback on the document as opposed to just re-writing it to my standards. This is a process that I will utilize for the rest of my life.
Overall this class has been very useful for me. The tools I have learned have strengthened my technical writing abilities and will help me to continue to communicate technically and through the use of technology. Lastly, this class has taught me technical communication isn’t just about the people who will follow the procedure or read the document. I need to keep the secondary and tertiary readers in mind as well.