Re: On not becoming discouraged

Subject: Re: On not becoming discouraged
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 14:22:02 -0800

Jo Baer wrote:

Are you a lone writer? If so, maybe it would be helpful to find another writer,
either on this list or through some other source, who is willing to act as a
mentor. I've read a lot of your posts, and I think sometimes you've just convinced
yourself you don't know how to proceed. Calm down, take a deep breath, look in the
manual, look back at something else you've done that's similar, and you'll probably
find you're not at such a loss.

The web site for this list, has a page for finding mentors, and for volunteering to be a mentor. That might be a good place to start.

Sometimes I have the opportunity of revising a manual I wrote when I was just
learning FrameMaker. I can compare how I sort of beat some poor paragraph or table
into submission because I didn't know the "right" way to do it. So I fix it. But to
the end user it looks exactly the same either way. Some days you use a
sledgehammer, some days you use a tweezer, some days you use both.

That's good advice. I'd like to add that, while many of us - including me - pride ourselves on our elegant solutions for doing things (and. sometimes, if we're not careful, can spend more time setting up the elegant solution than a quick and dirty fix would take), in the end what matters is whether your employer is getting what he or she wants, and whether your readers are getting what they need. Everything else is extra.

Keep at it. If you're a good writer and are willing to learn, you have what it

A slight change here: if you're willing to learn, you have what it takes. I say this because nobody is born a good writer. Someone who becomes a good writer may start with an interest in words or self-expression, but they don't become a good writer except through writing and learning from the results. Nor do they ever finish learning.

It's not for me to say whether I'm a good writer or not (although, like many of us, I have strong opinions on the subject ;-) ), but I do know that I'm a better writer than I was last year. I also know that, if I look back a year from now on what I've written today, I will see a few parts that please me, but also many parts that I could do better. That's the way things have been since I made my first professional sale at 15, and it hasn't changed since.

In other words, don't expect to learn the Secrets, and then to be a good writer for the rest of your life. It doesn't work that way. Just do the best you can today, learn from it, and repeat the process in your next project.

(Okay, pontification over. Andrew has processes and knowing technology; this is one of mine).

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

"Granite years - all the nights and lights and bitter tears
When you don't care where you're going,
Say that I was foolish, say that I was blind,
Never say that I got left behind."
- OysterBand, "Granite Years"

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On not becoming discouraged: From: Ellen Vanrenen
Re: On not becoming discouraged: From: Jo Baer

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