Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.
Everyone has a story to tell. How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.
The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals: Who is the audience? What is the purpose of the piece? Is there a thematic foundation? Who will be interested? What is the appropriate forum for publication? These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset. Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue. Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum? Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.
As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target. It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.
For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire