I’m a big fan of writing the first draft. If something hasn’t been done before, but needs to be done, I look on that as an opportunity to do something new. This could include anything from establishing job descriptions and codes of conduct for event volunteers to establishing the fields and layout for spreadsheets and tables to developing rules and forms for a contest.
Once the document’s first solid draft is written, it’s ready to be handed off to someone with more patience than me to refine and maintain. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I can edit pretty well, though I salute truly great editors, like my NASA peer Betty, who could look at the same document ten times and still catch things in need of correction. I’m good, I’m not that good.
But man, I just love it when I get a task that’s open-ended. “We don’t know exactly what we want to say, but it needs to convey X.” It could mean I need to write a lobbying letter to a member of Congress, write a one-sheet brochure for a complicated piece of software, a speech for a leader in the aerospace community, or compose a letter or mission statement for a NASA mission.
The advantage of writing the first draft is that it allows the writer to explore what’s possible, to set the tone for a position or policy. It’s an opportunity to speak with the voice of the organization. That’s about as much “power” as an introvert like me cares to have, but it’s a good power to have because I get to use the words I would want a leader to use in a given situation. The other good part about writing the first draft is the opportunity to say what hasn’t been said before…which is often as close to creativity as one can get in corporate America.