Re: Pseudowriters

Subject: Re: Pseudowriters
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2000 03:13:38 -0800 (PST)

"Bonnie Granat" wrote...

> If you can't plan ahead, you're a pseudowriter. If you can't honor
> conventions and standards, you're a pseudowriter. If you eschew methodology
> because you are afraid you can't operate within its confines, you are also a
> pseudowriter. If you don't plan your documents, you're a pseudowriter. If
> you don't plan what you're going to say and when you're going to say it,
> you're a pseudowriter. But if you haven't got an editor, you probably won't
> ever be told the truth.

So let me get this straight... according to you the "real" writer is one who:

- Plans rather that acts.
(I consider planning a passive activity and writing an active one.)
- Enforces standards rather than explores new designs.
- Honors methodology above creativity.
- Assumes the audience wants consistency above accuracy.
- Cherishes order over flexibility

So if I just plan everything, follow orders, and never deviate from the
well-beaten path - I'll be an accomplished writer?

Yeah, that's the qualities of all those great writers in history. I'm sure Mark
Twain had a great documentation plan.

I'm sorry - but plans, methodologies, and process do not make people great
writers. I know this is what the some people want to believe - but it just
isn't true.

Yes, you should plan.
Yes you should be consistent.
Yes, you should give your audience what they want.
But all of this becomes irrelevant, if the writer doesn't understand the
information he/she is communicating.

I read a lot of technical docs because I do a lot systems admin, programming,
and graphics work. Most docs are okay. But every now and then, I get a real
stinker. Many of these crappy docs are very consistent, well organized, and
perfectly formatted. Its just that the content is so bland and misleading that
it is obvious the authors didn't have a clue what they were writing. I am sure
these docs look great on a shelf collecting dust. But to the engineer who must
use those docs, well, is it any wonder why they all hate tech writers?

Writing is not an act of committee. Writers blindly following rigid plans and
methodologies is not a recipe for success. Knowledgeable writers following
simple guidelines and simple plans with flexible standards - that works.

The real "psuedowriters" are those people who stand around TALKING about all
the stuff they may someday write (if all the planets align and their plans and
methodologies all fall into perfect synchronous order.)

Andrew PseudoPlato

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