Re: Mentoring writers in...(long!)

Subject: Re: Mentoring writers in...(long!)
From: AlumsHubby -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 01:12:44 -0400

In a message dated 4/23/97 4:13:03 PM, amandaj -at- ZOATECHMEDIA -dot- COM (Amanda M.
Jervis) wrote:

>Continuing in that vein, I am seeking resources on how to mentor writers on
>the job.

Doubt this qualifies as a "resource" in the sense you're thinking of, but in
seat-of-the-pants fashion, I'm mentoring two TW wannabees and playing
"writing coach" for a rising junior account exec.

TW WB #1 is a junior at Old Dominion who's majoring in English with a
business/marketing minor. So far, I've steered him to this list (Hi,
Ernie!), sent him some samples and my resume, chatted with him a bit about
his goals and what the TW working life is about. So far, I don't think I've
dampened his enthusiasm, but we'll see.

TW WB #2 is the admin ass't I share with my boss. The AA is abt four yrs out
of a small liberal-arts school where she majored in graphic design; before
joining us, she worked as a drafter for two years. She's very enthusiastic
about "growing into" an eventual TW job in our startup company, either as a
new position becomes necessary or I eventually get sucked into other duties.
Her desk is close enough to mine that I can call her over to show her how
I'm developing documentation, proposing and designing new projects, creating
and revising a user manual, or just providing sermons, war stories, and
ad-hoc exercises and quizzes. As I find stuff for her to read (like Bill
Horton's book on online documentation), I share them with her, and she
devours 'em and even asks me a question about something she's read or heard.
I WISH I could get her Internet access so she could also subscribe to this
list. (Hmm, I already detect a trend, Amanda...)

Additionally, I'm playing "writing coach" for a junior executive (Hi, Julia!)
who's designing a major procedural/ process/ policy document, nebulously
defined and draconically mandated by a senior VP. She's a good listener, but
mostly terrified...has had to be shown how to break such a large project down
into manageable steps, plus learning how to take advantage of the wealth of
features in Word 7. I spend about equal time among explaining subjects like
why a major document needs a statement of audience, purpose, and scope;
answering routine questions on style and usage; and trying to "talk her down
out of her tree" and provide encouragement. I'm unsure whether to recommend
this list to her; she'll need to consider the writing component of her
responsibilites and maybe test-drive this list's digest to see what's

If you've read this far with a growing sense of boredom, resentment or
confusion, the fault is entirely my own. Nevertheless, I hope this is


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