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

Subject: Re: Writing: better or worse after years on the job?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 10:22:52 -0700

Writing for a living has improved my writing in two main ways.

First, because my work includes technical, marketing, and business writing, I'm much more aware of genre and of the conventions and concerns of each type of writing that I do. I find now that, as I start to tackle a particular type of writing, I'm aware of switching to a different set of concerns.

Second, because I write regularly, I'm always in practice. That means that starting a writing task is much less momenteous than it used to be. I don't need to psych up, and I don't need much warm up as I start to write. I've noticed the same thing with running; because I've been running 40 to 70 miles a week since I was 12, I almost never have to warm up as much as other runners do.

This feeling of always being in practice has another effect: I tend to write and finish more writing of all types than I ever did. Part of the reason may be that I write with less effort, and my drafts have improved; where I used to take five or six drafts for my best work, I can now manage in three or four. But another reason is that writing makes me want to do more writing. In this respect, I'm very different from those who say that writing all day makes them less willing to write when they get home. Despite some major personal upheavals, the years I've spent as a tech-writer have been the most productive in my life. Besides my work as a technical and marketing writer, I've not only taken on a profitable sideline as a journalist, but also regularly published poetry and made good progress on a novel that,among other things, will expose the dark and seamy side of tech-writing :-).

I suppose I could summarize by saying that doing tech-writing has made me more of a professional in all my writing. I still consider writing, as Isaac Asimov did, the most fun that I can have by myself, but I take a more hard-headed approach to the mechanics and business of writing.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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

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