5 Nov

This post is no longer available on this blog.

This post is now part of J.’s book, Letters Left Unsent, available on Amazon.


31 Responses to “Writer”

  1. Ian 5 November, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    Hey mate, can you write me a log frame?

  2. Vasco Pyjama 5 November, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    I had been struggling to explain what I was doing here in PNG. I’m just going to direct everyone to this post.

  3. Michael Keizer 6 November, 2009 at 4:39 am #

    Wouldn’t @textbitch be an awesome Twitter name, though? It’s not taken yet…

  4. J. 6 November, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    Ian – recognizing your old ops director, eh? (Write your own dang logframe… and grab me another coffee, will ya?🙂 )

    Vasco – Means more coming from you than it would from most others…

    Michael – Go for it! Sounds like an invitation to invasion of your account by porn-bots, though…

  5. andrew farrand 12 November, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    Apparently, i’m going to get sick of writing one day soon. but for the moment, being a better-than-average writer of proposals, reports, and other texts is my meal ticket in the development field. perhaps when i’m in my 30s it won’t be so appealing, but right now, i’m happy to be “text bitch” rather than unemployed!

    I enjoy the blog – keep writing!🙂

    • J. 15 November, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

      Hey Andrew – no need to get sick of writing. Especially if it is, as you say, your meal ticket. Revel in being the “text bitch”!

  6. McKay 3 December, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Haha, good point. I like to be the rare multi-purpose breed who can also be the spreadsheet-bitch and presentation-bitch, you know, the whole communication suite!😉

    But at the end of the day, depending on the size and bureaucracy of the organisation, there is a large sense of purpose in being the writer-communicator, as you are the one actually making the wheels turn. Maybe that makes me a communications wonk, but I enjoy seeing a donor/funder/politco whether face-to-face or over proposals, come to the “aha” moment where they see what you see, become convinced to believe in you and your little brick of the development house, and part with a nice, sizable cheque. And this is double if you’ve managed to convince them to do the project your way, with the most intelligent reporting terms possible. Personally, I also really take pride in being a – or sometimes the – responsible party that ensures that what gets funded is as representative of the grassroots local realities as you can manage to listen, understand, translate and convey.

    • J. 3 December, 2009 at 10:48 am #

      I completely agree. Text bitches have more power than others think they do. I make it a personal practice to take on writing, rather than slough it off onto others.

  7. McKay 3 December, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Oh, the Twitter idea is brilliant Michael!🙂

  8. Sarah 8 January, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    I love how this post conveys both the sheer, unglamorous drudgery and the absolutely critical nature of writing…I wish I could show use it in class with my high school students! However, the phrase “text bitch” might not go over well with some of their parents, even though it’s not like they don’t use it multiple times per day.

    • J. 8 January, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      change it to “text biaaaaaaatch..”

  9. angelica 17 January, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    I’m a text bitch. if it’s any consolation to andrew, I’m in my mid thirties and I love being the text bitch (on my free time I write a blog and am writing a book).

    I like to write. Also, when you go to a meeting, and everyone expresses their opinion, it’s the one that drafts the minutes, or the report, or the whatever who usually decides what goes into the final draft….. catch my drift?

    • Justine 28 March, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      love it! I’m a consultant and do mainly M&E and proposals so I am actually a full-time, professional text-bitch – I may have to even think about getting that put on my business cards! Yup, I’m that person that people get to delegate all the writing jobs they hate to … and I actually kind of enjoy it … I guess I’m a word-geek (and in my, ahem, late thirties, and been doing this for more than a decade so Andrew, you may just find you’re a word geek too!)

  10. Cottesloe Princess Does Safari In Stilettos 21 March, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    I really enjoyed this as it gave value to a skill I often curse because I’m always called in to do those things for other people because I can write, From now on I can take it as a compliment that they can’t write themselves, and that its skill building…

    I think you should write a blog about people who can and can’t read, emails specifically. I can’t seem to get my local colleages to open and read thier emails, or when they read them, they dont reply..They only seem to action things that are hard copy printed MEMOs…gees they love their MEMOs and anything they can sign and assign to some one else… Replying to an email with thought and critical analysis on the other hand….. Another story!!

    Loved the blog


    • gypsysoul 16 November, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      you just made me feel so much more VALUED and appreciated doing the grunt job of reporting officer. I think I’ll go home with my chest a little higher tonight🙂


  1. Let’s hope it’s a good one… without any fear… « Tales From the Hood - 2 December, 2009

    […] actually had a very similar conversation about eleven years ago (back in my “text bitch” days). It wasn’t a country or region-specific conversation, but more focused on how to articulate the […]

  2. “A Hole Beneath Our Hearts” « Tales From the Hood - 20 February, 2010

    […] been to a few cluster meetings, but the reality is that what was most needed by my team was a “text bitch.” So that is what I […]

  3. Show Me The Change » Blog Archive » People matter! - 1 March, 2010

    […] been to a few cluster meetings, but the reality is that what was most needed by my team was a “text bitch.” So that is what I […]

  4. Landing an aid job… « Tales From the Hood - 4 October, 2010

    […] skills. Be able to get your thoughts down in succinct, clear prose. As much as anything else, the heavy lifting of aid work comes down to good writing. Prove that you have this basic, universal skill from the get-go: Include a good writing sample […]

  5. “Writer” (via Tales From the Hood) « Ramblings of the Disoriented Mind - 12 October, 2010

    […] At one point early in my aid career, it was my job to be based in an HQ cubicle but to travel frequently to the field for the express purpose of writing primarily USAID grants. It was one of those jobs that was all about “customer service” out to our country offices, “empowering local counterparts”, and “flowing accountability downward.” Which meant, basically, that I was the fresh-faced, fresh out of grad-school, fresh meat thrown to the country … Read More […]

  6. Welcome | Webster INGO 5000 Fall 2010 - 27 October, 2010

    […] on working in the humanitarian aid world.  Tales from the Hood has written a very convincing post emphasizing the importance of writing skills  another with advice for job seekers in the aid world. Create a free edublog to get your own […]

  7. Professional! « Tales From the Hood - 31 October, 2010

    […] need to master if you want do aid work properly. As much as anything else you need to be good at writing – and not the emotive, soul-baring, self-righteous naval-gazing that far too often passes as aid […]

  8. A Moment of Reflection after a Year of Blogging | IH – BLOG - 7 November, 2010

    […] to do development work, and what skills to cultivate in order to make yourself marketable (e.g. writing – another reason to blog for us!). This is by no means a complete list – if you would like my […]

  9. Long Time No Links « Waylaid Dialectic - 11 November, 2010

    […] the aid world J makes the case for writing being a key skill for an aid worker. I agree […]

  10. #5 Pictures of Burqas « Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like - 14 December, 2010

    […] of expat aid work is actually just office work. It’s pushing paper, going to meetings, general text-bitchery. It’s an equilibrium of overworkedness, punctuated by occasional terror or possibly hangovers. […]

  11. Three Shots of Vodka « Tales From the Hood - 31 January, 2011

    […] reality of aid work is that it is a lot of text- and spreadsheet-bitchery. It is a lot of hunching over a laptop computer, late at night in sweltering heat (or bitter cold) […]

  12. #36 “Working from home” « Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like - 21 March, 2011

    […] to that “other duty” and summarily dump that reporting task on the desk of some other text-bitch. Or maybe you’re tired of your Crackberry and pining for a shiny new iPhone 4? Easy: multi-donor […]

  13. #91 Increasing the budget « Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like - 12 September, 2011

    […] more money can help more people.  Because we want to help people, most of our work becomes the text bitchery necessary to chase down donors dollars. And no we don’t spend hours sweating and hunched over a […]

  14. Mind your language « KM on a dollar a day - 5 January, 2012

    […] our “mad writing skillz” then we need to “Mind our Language”. As J so expressed so well, writing is a critical skill for the aid worker, since for all its imperfections as a medium the written […]

  15. My Day To Day | UpLook - 6 January, 2012

    […] much more involved in operational support – particularly on grant applications (i.e. being a ‘text bitch’) – which means that I’m going to have to learn about the more hidden side* of […]

  16. Social Innovation & Identity Crisis | UpLook - 2 February, 2012

    […] to work quickly and creatively on development-type issues is a far cry from the relatively dull, text bitch type work that takes up most of my time. In fact, the change in style of working was so refreshing […]

Pearls of wisdom

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: