Re: Just can't help myself

Subject: Re: Just can't help myself
From: Martin Bosworth <martinhbosworth -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 12:28:44 -0400

> I think rates are low because people don't know they can ask for more
> and writing is crap partly because of apathy and partly because of
> lack of experience/knowledge in the industry or domain in which they
> are working as a technical writer.
> > There's a huge abundance of people claiming they are writers...there
> > just isn't an abundance of writers who can walk the walk.
> Walk the walk how? Really, if you want to talk certification, you
> really need to be specific. We can generalize all day and still not
> have a shred of evidence that technical writing certification does or
> does not have merit.

One of the great things about being a tech writer is that it's a very
individual experience. Each assignment is different. Each writer is
different. The tools are different. The requirements are different.
You get the point. ;)

What works for me here at WRAMC would probably be considered chicken
feed to most senior TW's. But then again, I'm doing things that many
people with the same job title as I have are not getting to do--like
actually take part in the creation of the documentation. Wow, what a
concept! :) Excuse me while I snap my gum and take some notes. :)

I hate certification with a passion. One reason I got out of the
programming field was that I was repulsed by the very idea of having
to pay for my own training in all these newfangled apps every time
Microsoft arbitrarily decided my skills were worthless. Worse yet, I'd
be competing with people much younger and less experienced, who would
get jobs over me because they had the piece of paper...and were
willing to work for less because they had less experience.

Don't get me wrong! I love the idea of learning and bettering my
skills. I just don't love the idea of being FORCED to do it,
especially when the net result in terms of better production and
increased skill is negotiable at best.

The best way to become a better tech comm is to WRITE. Write
constantly. Write everything you can. Review it. Write some more.
Learn from other writers. Find other assignments to write about.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

When it comes down to crunch time and the manual needs finishing, I'd
rather be the guy who gets it done than the guy with a million
certificates who doesn't know how to open a Table of Contents in Word


Martin H. Bosworth
Technical Writer, Telemedicine Directorate
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (
Writer/Editor, (


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RE: Just can't help myself: From: John Posada
Re: Just can't help myself: From: Bill Swallow

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