Re: Thinking Patterns (was RE: Interviews (5 Year Question))

Subject: Re: Thinking Patterns (was RE: Interviews (5 Year Question))
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 01:04:50 -0700 (PDT)

"Bruce Byfield" wrote...

> > Is this a good observation? Are we, as writers, better at certain
> > kinds of instructions than others?
> >
> I think it's an even larger issue than that. First as a university
> instructor and later as a tech-writer, I've observed that very few
> people - whether writers or not - have a good sense of structure. Many
> cannot see the structure of anything longer than a paragraph. Many more
> have learned one or two structures that they try to use on all
> occasions, and are at a loss when their rote ideas don't work. Only a
> handful can adapt their favorite structures, or generate new ones to fit
> new information or requirements.

This is why I think there are writers who approach their job as an intellectual
challenge and those that see it as a form of expression. While all of us
possess both, most writers see their work as purely a mechanism for expression
either via language, format, or the ever-dreaded process. They don't see the
words communicating something so much as they see themselves expressing
something. "This document is great because I have expressed it in a such and
such manner."

The other side of this are those that approach writing as an intellectual
endeavor. A process of discovery, exploration, contemplation, and eventually
communication. The format, language, and process are merely means to an end.
The real work, is in the intellectual portion of the job.

My personal belief is that most writers have not truly mastered writing. They
are still seeing it as an extension of themselves. The zen masters teach pupils
to remove themselves from the moment, and become a receptacle for
enlightenment. I think this is ultimately what flusters many writers. They are
trapped inside their own mind, unable to overcome their pre-occupation with
their role and the demands of the moment. As such, they cannot rise above the
issue and truly understand the patterns, structure, and concepts that permeate
the topic.

This is why I think people get into processes and procedures. They feel secure.
You can rely on them because they give a sense of order to what is ultimately a
chaotic endeavor. Because they cannot overcome their ego and need to express
themselves, they must invent systems to "dislodge" the information from their
minds. The procedure takes the place of enlightenment and discovery. Its a lot
easier to invent a system where everything seems logical and structured then it
is to mentally wrestle with complex, sticky ideas.

Wrestling anything sticky has its drawbacks and rewards.

Andrew Plato

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