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

Subject: RE: Writing: better or worse after years on the job?
From: Marguerite Krupp <mkrupp -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 10:32:19 -0400

Being a technical writer/editor/manager/teacher helps me be a better writer
in general because:

* I write all the time.
* I read other technical writers' stuff - of necessity, and also as an STC
judge.
* It forces me to tune into the needs of the people who'll read my stuff.
* My writing gets reviewed, and I can learn from that.
* The discipline of writing this way helps my other writing, but I still
writhe sometimes under the constraints of the corporate requirements
("technical writhing"). Conformity was never my long suit!
* My students challenge me, as I challenge them, to be clear, correct,
concise, complete,....

At home, I find I have little patience with poor writing and editing. I read
mostly non-fiction, though I listen to booktapes of (mostly) mysteries in
the car. Well, hey, a lot of what we write at work is a mystery when we
start! The reading I do at work slows down my pleasure reading immensely. I
find it hard to shift to fast-forward mode.

I read and write poetry and occasional essays and articles. I think that
this, too, helps me be a better tech writer. Like other posters, I find that
what I read influences what I write. I tend to avoid horror stories, as I
find real life scary enough.

This summer, I co-authored a play, based on historical research, which is
being produced next week. My tech writing helped me hone the language and
write in terms of actions and images. I have also produced a video for the
local cable station.

In summary, I enjoy getting excited about something, turning it over in my
mind, and communicating that excitement to others. Can I get excited about
writing about networking protocols? Yes, if I think about the power they
give people and the intricacies of how they work together. It's like a
puzzle.

I am a writer, a photographer, a communicator. And while I think it's neat
to get paid for doing what I enjoy, instead of something I hate, I would be
all these things, regardless. Oh, and I DO have a life outside of work!

Marguerite

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