Re: Are you a writer?

Subject: Re: Are you a writer?
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 22:16:04 -0800 (PST)

--- Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com> wrote:

> To elaborate on this point: I always have trouble with the claim that
> our specialty is communication. Perhaps I take the ability to
> communicate for granted, but I consider it no more than the basic
> requirement for the job. To say that a writer communicates is a
> tautology, and not very useful. The question should be WHAT are we
> communicating, not whether we are doing so, or how skilled we are. After
> all, the ability to sling a memorable phrase or write grammatically is
> fairly common. The ability to structure material is much rarer, and
> depends on the material itself.

That is a very good point. I too feel that the skill of communicating is so
basic, that it really doesn't earn me much. You don't add a lot of value to an
organization knowing English or how to use FrameMaker. There are a lot of smart
people who know English and can write well who are NOT writers.

Therefore, a technical writer has to bring something more to the table than
just the ability to communicate or use a desktop publishing tool effectively.
You could say, the minimum requirements to even be accepted to "writer school"
is excellent communication skills and experience using word processing tools.
But to graduate from "writing school" you have to put those base skills to work
and produce something of value. And those skills alone will not produce
valuable docs. Hence, you have to master content.

Andrew Plato

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Re: Are you a writer?: From: Bruce Byfield

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