RE: on technical writers

Subject: RE: on technical writers
From: "Mark L. Levinson" <nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 23:39:54 +0200

Ed writes:
> All writing, when done well, is creative writing.

I don't think so. All writing, when done well,
is good writing and deserves respect. But I
don't think it's disrespectful to point out
the difference between technical writing and
creative writing.

Creative writing is full of indirectness.
Hemingway said, "If you tell it, you've lost it."
In technical writing, you had better tell it or
for sure you've lost it.

T.S. Eliot said that the meaning, in a poem,
is the juicy steak dragged in by the burglar
to distract the watchdog of the mind. In a
manual, our only purpose is to feed that dog.

As technical writers, we ponder and rewrite and
get up and pace and we work just as hard as
creative writers do. But what we're practising
is not creativity because we're pursuing nothing
more than a clear and predetermined goal with
a limited and predetermined set of resources.
What we're practising is not creativity but
problem-solving. And it's nothing to be ashamed
of. It's not a bad thing, it's a good thing.
And it's something that not all creative writers
can do.

Mark L. Levinson
nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il

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