Re: Writing: better or worse after years on the job?

Subject: Re: Writing: better or worse after years on the job?
From: TDean -at- envirosys -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 09:19:39 -0400

I kept all my text books from college. When I feel like my grammar is
slipping, I get out the old Harbrace or my Technical Editing book and brush
up on those skills. It also helps me to write in a journal, toilet paper,
napkins, post-its, or whatever is handy to get the creative non-technical
writing out of my brain. However, my best writing is not at work in my
manuals because most people use manuals as reference books so consistency
wins, which may look repetitive to others that read from cover to cover.
However, I debate with myself if I should vary my sentences to add spice in
the manual instead of being repetitive?
I really feel like my writing has improved. Especially after talking with
techies that are buried in the subject matter, I research what they are
trying to say in order to translate to my users - the more I do that, the
better I get at clarity.
Before I became a technical writer, I definitely wrote more creatively. I
feel like my creative writing has suffered. I am trying to change that!!!
Tina Dean


"Hart, Rowena"
<Hart -at- SelkirkFinancial -dot- com> To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent by: cc:
bounce-techwr-l-81152 -at- lists -dot- r Subject: Writing: better or worse after years on the job?

10/11/2001 06:09 PM
Please respond to "Hart,


While reviewing some help topics that I
wrote recently, I started to ponder whether
my writing has improved or declined after a
few years working as a technical writer.

I would say that my ability to describe
things has improved, primarily because I
am more skilled at communicating context
(you are here) and logic (if-then-else).
However, I have a sense that my ability to
write brief sentences has suffered. (I come
to tech writing from a journalism background,
where brief is best.) My grammar has probably
slipped, too.

What about you? Has your writing ability
improved or declined since you've become a
professional technical writer? What are some
of the forces (in the business environment)
that have positively or adversely affected
your writing ability? What steps do you take
to "stay sharp"? Does writing for a technical
audience lead to poor writing, or does it
actually demand better and clearer writing?
Have you ever been horribly embarrassed to
read something you wrote years ago? Does your
writing benefit because you work in a large
documentation group (with opportunities for
mentoring and editing)? ....



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