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> As a writer, my
> job is to learn as much as possible (necessary?) about my subject and then
> translate what I've learned into readable, useful prose for my
> audience. I've
> done technical documentation in the process control, telecommunications,
> computer, and now financial industries. Since I came out of the
> process control
> area, that's the only one in which I was well versed at the start
> of a writing
> project. Everything else I've had to learn and then apply that
> learning, with
> the skills of my rhetorical craft (and a dozen other skills) to turn that
> information into useful documentation of all kinds for audiences
> of all kinds.
> Has my experience over the years been invaluable? Definitely.
> Would I trade it
> for more rhetorical skills? No. Is it the heart of my craft? No.
> The heart of
> my craft is my abilities as a writer to accomplish the mission before me.
All that you have said sounds like experience of writing is what you rely
And that is the type of experience I am pointing at that cannot be taught.
I am not speaking of "number of years service".
What allows you to accomplish the mission before you is your past experience
and present skill.
Perhaps I put too much emphasis on experience and should include rhetorical
skill as the two complementary parts of tech writing that form its essence.
I can live with that. But in terms of a technical writing education, my
point stands that this type of experience is only found on site on the job.
Director, Vidiom Systems