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I'm not really responding to any particular post, just a general rant on a few
posts I've seen lately. Seems like everybody thinks they know the perfect
educational/experience combo for a writer (and it ALWAYS is suspiciously
similar to the author's experience/education).
Since I have nothing better to do this morning...
The Perfect Writer:
10. Shuts his/her stinking trap and listens. You cannot learn when you are
pontificating about your amazing superpowers.
9. Content, content, content. NOBODY cares about your process, organization, or
even grammar if the content is wrong, inaccurate, or incomplete.
8. Cuts through project/communication obstacles rather than wasting time
describing their existence.
7. Is never afraid to dive into the ookie, complex details.
6. Consumes alternate points of view and analyzes them fairly for their value.
5. Takes responsibility to get the information he/she needs to get the project
done. NEVER rely on somebody else to deliver the data.
4. Serves everybody's needs in a project (users, marketing, engineering, etc.)
3. Repects the trade-offs of time and money. Just because something is "the
right thing to do", does not mean it is "the best thing to do".
2. Keeps the communication clean, concise, simple and consistent.
1. Gets the job done on-time regardless of the obstacles.
If you fail at any of these points - you suck.
The one that I am pissed about right now are writers who spend more time
complaining about the obstacles in a project rather then firing up their
intellectual blow torch and cutting through them. Basically, it is a way to
avoid work. Rather than overcome obstacles, some toadsuckers just sit around
with their arms folded complaining how all these obstacles exist. Lazy bums.
Stuff that does not matter (in tech writing):
- Your process
- Your degree
- Your ability to care about the tender needs of the reader.
- All those awards you won.
- The fact that you have irrational, emotional attachments to software.
- How the universe disrespects you and treats you like a 2nd class citizen.
- Poetry and other "*I* am the soulful communicator" nonsense.
- where the comma goes. (Nobody pays attention to this, just accept it).
In case your communist college professor told you otherwise...tech writing is
If you work hard and do a good job - you will be rewarded. That is the beauty
of capitalism. Hard work does pay off, eventually.
If you want to blow and bluster and have fits about how the world doesn't
respect you - you'll get shoved aside and ignored. If nobody respects you, give
them a reason TO respect you. Demonstrate your prowess rather than talk about
Lastly, NOBODY cares about your degree, your experience, or your deep thoughts.
You're just another meat sack. Now, you can either put a 9mm slug through your
frontal lobe or you can leverage this fact and be a superstar with a truck load
of money. Either way, you're going back to dust eventually. Why not just do a
good job while you're here rather than being a flake.