The reality is there are a number of things military authors do which are sort of embarrassing from an editor’s perspective. Military personnel hold themselves up as professionals, but occasionally behave like inexperienced freshman undergraduates when it comes time to submit an article for publication.
One of the most intimidating things about publishing a professional contribution is fear the author will get something wrong, or embarrass themselves through small mistakes. The reality is a typo, an improperly used italics formatting, or a misspelled name is not something most editors care about. If the problems are repeated and glaring, that is different, but a couple of small mistakes are not very important.
Our educational policies focus on engineering and technical study, and rarely encourage us to learn how to communicate in writing beyond a bare minimum. In our staff positions we use briefing slides and other communication methods which inspire partial thoughts, quick hits, and incomplete sentences and no concept of paragraph structure or style.
Today, Adin Dobkin, MWG Communications Director, recalled some of the lessons learned from MWG’s recent workshop that took place at Defense Entrepreneurs Forum’s DEF[x]DC conference for the Atlantic Council.
Poetry, I recognize, isn’t every soldier’s three cups of tea. Ever since I entertained my platoon mates with Prince Harry’s inspiring St. Crispin’s Day speech, however, I’ve enjoyed sneaking poetry into the conversation. Perhaps more soldiers would appreciate poetry, were they to realize the inherent poetics of military life.
Last year, MWG members have been involved with projects ranging from published novels to think tank reports and podcasts, we thought their work should speak for itself.
The memories and emotions flooded back as I scanned over the ink on the pages. Although I’d self-published Leaving the Wire digitally a while back, there was a new set of feelings invoked by holding my story in my hands. It seemed more vivid and real, the words on the page invoking a greater sense of gravity to the experience.
U.S. military officers are required to perform a variety of duties to meet their missions. The ability to write intelligibly, comprehensively and succinctly is a skill that requires strengthening, because it is needed by all military officers.
Anyone who’s written a book-length work, whether fiction or nonfiction, can attest to the fact that the path to publication can be a long one. I reached an important milestone on my own journey a few weeks ago when I revealed the cover of my debut novel, The Road Back From Broken.