Re: Tech-Reading vs. Other Reading

Subject: Re: Tech-Reading vs. Other Reading
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 11:28:34 -0700

R. Johnson wrote:

I'd like to pose a similar question: does the reading of
technical writing enhance your READING abilities with
regards to other types of writing?

I don't think it has any effect one way or the other. I read between four and ten books a week, about half of which are non-fiction. As a result, I'm constantly exposed to all sorts of different types of writing, and none really has a chance to dominate permanently. If I've read a couple of books by Stephen King or just finished re-reading "Paradise Lost," I sometimes notice a bit of influence in my own writing, but it quickly fades.

But, for those who find that tech-writing lessens their appreciation of other types of writing, one reason may be that tech-writing has designed some very good techniques for quick absorption of information. Lacking these techniques, other forms of writing may seem slow or awkward.

Also, reading for pleasure is not quite the same activity as reading for information. Reading for information is about finding and absorbing facts quickly. By contrast, reading for pleasure is a much slower activity. In fact, in many places you want to linger over a choice of words, or a witty or humorous comment, or enjoy a character or plot twist. So, perhaps those who find technical documentation destroys their enjoyment of other writing are really saying is that they haven't kept up the practice of reading for pleasure?

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

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Tech-Reading vs. Other Reading: From: R. Johnson

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