OT - Veering in RE: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')

Subject: OT - Veering in RE: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')
From: "Sean O'Donoghue-Hayes (EAA)" <Sean.O'Donoghue-Hayes -at- ericsson -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 13:02:28 +1100

Right - time to take this seriously to another level!

There are two things to being a technical writer - content and writing and
numeracy skills.

We must be the content!

We must be the content! Not enough to know your content, or empathise with
your content, you must be the content. So if you are writing about servers,
you should sit in a temperature controlled room, with people trying to shove
messages through you at a thousand tiny bits a second. Feel how that is,
walk a mile in the shoes of that which you would document.

The best example of this must be the quick and easy User Guide to Dining on
Soylent Green. You know what the content is, you can truly be the content.
This is the ultimate in technical writing, where you truly know the content.

As for writing. And for communicating. If you cannot in a few words
encapsulate in common speech the guiding principles, philosophies and ideas
of your age so any can understand them - then what are you doing in the
technical writing field? As my mother said whilst recovering in the burns
unit at our local hospital: "If you can't stand the inflammable oil thrown
on an open gas burner then stay out of the kitchen!"

Is this setting the bar to high? Not at all - when he/she who has the gold
don't say how high, just do it to surpass all expectations!!! Think of some
memorable occasions where truly great communicators have managed to reach
the "whole" audience and give them the message:

"Tune in, turn on, and drop out"

"Coke is it!"

"Greed is Good."

"Never run carrying scissors"

"The eagle has landed."

"Give way."

To be a technical writer you must know everything about anything and be able
to talk more eloquently than Shahrazadou.

Only then might we call you technical writer - any other level of expertise
is just a writer, and anyone who can make up a shopping list is one of

regards and thanks,
Sean O'Donoghue-Hayes

*oh sig, sig, where-art thou sweet sig?*

Now's a great time to buy RoboHelp! You'll get SnagIt screen capture
software and a $200 onsite training voucher FREE when you buy RoboHelp
Office or RoboHelp Enterprise. Hurry, this offer expires February 28, 2002. www.ehelp.com/techwr

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