RE: Damnit Jim, I'm a Writer, not a Programmer

Subject: RE: Damnit Jim, I'm a Writer, not a Programmer
From: "Glenn Maxey" <glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 15:54:32 -0600

Hey, I resemble your remarks! In my private life, at any rate.

I would like to live the life of Ernest Hemmingway. I've lived in Europe
and sat in bars writing. I had great ideas, but only the iceberg tips
were brought to paper.

Alas, my problem was and still is that I write technical stuff for a
living in the daytime hours when I'm awake and fresh. As much as I would
love to, whenever I get off of work, writing more stuff no matter how
personally interesting to me is the last thing I want to do.

So, while sitting in my European bars in the evening after work,
drinking my second or nth beer, and noticing my handwriting deteriorate
from page to page, I would let myself be interrupted by those curious as
to what this foreigner was writing about. My answer (in German) always
began with "You." (As in, "I'm writing about you.") I'd even let them
see what I was scribbling, because I knew they had to overcome the
hurdles of both the language I wrote in as well as my handwriting.

I recently got something to help with the handwriting problem in
addition to the "your brain moves much faster than the fingers"
situation as well as the tedious transposition tasks of getting the
drunken scratchings into an electronic form for easier editing and

Our company supports us with PDAs (i.e., PalmPilots) to help us get
better organized. So now I'm supposedly better organized. Better still,
I have a stowaway foldout keyboard for my PDA. Overall, a much smaller
footprint than a laptop.

Now I can be a high-tech Hemmingway while ordering liquid refreshments
and spying the female patrons in the watering-hole de jour.

Alas, this motivation thing is still a problem.

I imagine that I'll have to use the PDA to schedule in time to focus on
the task.

My after hours writing would be so much better if I didn't have to have
that aforementioned "tidy little paycheck each week and a stable set of

Glenn Conrad Maxey
maxey -at- privatei -dot- com
108 W. Byers Place #207
Denver, CO 80223 (USA)
(h) Tel. +1 303.282.4578
(w) Tel. +1 303.223.5164

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andrew Plato [mailto:intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com]
> Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2001 2:26 PM
> Subject: Damnit Jim, I'm a Writer, not a Programmer

> Strange, but I noticed this too when I was in college. It seemed like
> there were people on a permanent quest to "learn about
> writing". Its like the writers who sit in coffeehouses TALKING about
> brilliant works, but never sitting down and writing them.
> I think tech-writing gets a lot of these writers. They want
> to live the life of Ernest Hemmingway but with a nice tidy paycheck
> week and a stable set of benefits. The THOUGHT of writing something
> sharing their thoughts is more attractive than the tepid-drudgery than

> actually doing it.


> That same principle carries over into tech writing. The act
> of dreaming up fantastic ideas, designs, and procedures is a snap. But
> physical act of putting all those brilliant thoughts into action is
> hard. Your brain moves much faster than the fingers.
> Talk is cheap, text matters.
> Andrew Plato


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