Useful Lessons For New People

Subject: Useful Lessons For New People
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 15:56:22 -0500

One of the most useful aspects of the discussions we've been having lately
is that such free form discussions give people new to the field (and list)
an idea of the diversity of Technical Writing. There are lots of places
where the TW is little more than a typist with a fancy title and other
places where the TW is a valued, and valuable, contributor to a development
team. And there are all sorts of working environments in between those
extremes.

Some writers work alone. Some work from home on various contracts, seldom
seeing their clients, their users, or the systems or processes they are
documenting. Others work in highly structured work environments where most
of the job seems to be office politics and posturing with the occasional bit
of document development thrown in almost as an after thought.

As in the real world--which is useful since TECHWR-L is a microcosm of the
world we all live in--we have our characters and personalities. Some are
easier to talk with than others. Some seem like the kind of people I would
enjoy working with. Others are people I would, politely if possible,
decline to work with. (Despite the fact that I'm practically perfect, I'm
sure there are those who delete my posts unread, too <g>.)

The new people who have been asking for tips, advice, and a better
understanding of the Technical Writing field could do a lot worse than
carefully reading the posts on this list. Sooner or later it all comes
through. Love us or hate us, we're all Technical Writers or their Managers
(some Editors, too, I'm sure). We're as diverse as any community.
Sometimes we're profound and sometimes we're full of it.

This is definitely a list where the reader is invited to take everything
with a large grain of salt. Remember, each situation is different and what
works for some won't work for others.

Rather than saying there is no right way or wrong way, we demonstrate with
our posts that there are many right ways and many wrong ways. The trick is
to pick your way through the choices, trying always to choose wisely but
knowing that sometimes it just don't work out that way.

Have a nice weekend.

Tom Murrell




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