tech writer wannabe

Subject: tech writer wannabe
From: Anita Legsdin <anita -dot- legsdin -at- watchmark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 11:31:32 -0800

Forgive me if I'm a bit late on this topic, but I'm on the digest.

For my $.02 worth, I agree with Keith Cronin. The advantages of tech
writing, to me, are that it pays well, and for most people who enjoy
writing, it allows some outlet for our writing abilities. As for me, I've
always preferred creative writing, but for all the years I've been at it,
it hasn't provided any where near the consistent income that tech writing
has. The most satisfying part of tech writing is, simply, learning about
the things I'm writing about (OK, even memory boards). I despise the rules
and regulations that force me to write sentences like "Click the 'Click'
click-button." I shudder at having to make selections from "approved word
lists," as though I lived in a totalitarian society. I agree with people
who, when I first meet them, scream at me, "You're responsible for writing
that crap?!" Yes, I take part in producing it, but I don't want to be
responsible for what it ultimately turns out to be. Those decisions are
made at a much higher level. When I am forced to select my words from an
approved list, I don't feel that I am explaining anything. At a certain
large software firm in Redmond, where I worked for 6 years, even the terms
appearing in the index had to be screened.

One of the most satisfying writing jobs I held was for, believe it or not,
an insurance company. I was responsible for writing the benefit booklets
that were distributed to our customers' employees. I worked closely with
the company's lawyer who (believe it or not) helped me put together books
that passed legal muster but were written in simple language that just
about anyone could understand. (This was at the beginning of the
simplification movement for health insurance benefit booklets, they've come
a long way in the last 25 years.) Not exactly creative, but not rote,

Anita Legsdin
Sr. Technical Writer
(425) 564-8135

"...someone with the capacity to create something so twisted deserves all
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-- Isabel Allende

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