RE: Somewhat OT: Tech Writers vs. other writers

Subject: RE: Somewhat OT: Tech Writers vs. other writers
From: "Lorraine Kiewiet" <Lorraine -dot- Kiewiet -at- mullinconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 08:28:21 -0700


The difference is the motivation. Pay is so variable.

The motivation of a tech writer is to describe the concrete--the
measureable. Academics, doctors, research scientists can be good writers
if they can detach themselves from the theory/outcomes on which they
report during the editing phase. Otherwise, they need outside editors.
(My husband is a fantastic editor of both his own work, and the work of
others, but not everyone can do it.)

The other types of writing you list (except for journalism) have to do
with character development and emotions. Things that are abstract and
not measureable. Historical fiction has to do with dates and settings,
but the character development is where the author exercises the
creativity. Jane Smiley's "Greenlanders" may have a lot of technical
accuracy, but it's all about characters.

Sure I care if my documentation helps an end-user have a "pleasant"
experience. But in reality, I know that most people read end-user docs
to get out of a jam, and that is something I can measure.


Lorraine Kiewiet
Senior Technical Writer
(213) 488-8728
lorraine -dot- kiewiet -at- mullinconsulting -dot- com


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