Re: Subject Matter Expertise-YES!

Subject: Re: Subject Matter Expertise-YES!
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 14:46:48 -0700

Good post, Jan.

I'd like to add one thing to this already thoroughly kicked deceased
horse: reality.

I completely agree that a writer who is thoroughly steeped in a specific
technology is better equipped to write about it. But I don't know about
you, but I've had jobs where I've been asked to write about stuff I didn't
know anything about. With no real option of refusing.

I don't go out looking for gigs like that - I certainly don't solicit
projects out of my expertise. But now and then I get 'em, regardless.

What does a proponent of the "you need to be an expert before you write a
single word" school do in that circumstance? Refuse? Quit? Do you ONLY
accept work that falls within your expertise? In this market, I don't feel
I have that option.

Note that I'm writing from the standpoint of an employee, not a contractor
- meaning I already took the job, and got a curve thrown at me sometime
after starting in that position. I'm not talking about trying to pick up a
quick contract writing about nuclear reactors armed only with my knowledge
of Homer Simpson cartoons. I'm talking about being asked to change hats
unexpectedly, or at least add hats to my wardrobe. It's happened in every
tech writing job I've had. Is it just me?

Keith Cronin

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that
one's work is terribly important.
-Bertrand Russell


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