Re: The New Communication (was Formality going Bye, Bye)

Subject: Re: The New Communication (was Formality going Bye, Bye)
From: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 12:49:26 -0800

On Tuesday 14 February 2006 15:19, you wrote:
> Hi Ned,
> > Then what is a writer?
> The title "writer," I believe, restricts us. I was
> hired not just to write, but to determine how best to

I think "writer" is generally taken to have more depth and breadth than simply
one who puts words down. A successful travel writer doesn't just transcribe
transit tables and hotel rates, right? A successful writer usually develops
a foundation of writing skills, learns research techniques, studies writing
markets and learns about the audience and values of each, and then chooses
what sort of writer to become. (Note: this process may be more implicit
than explicit). Knowing the audience and how to write for them is rather a
prerequisite, no?

> convey information to our user population so that they
> learn how to efficiently use our software. If my

Aye, and it is not all about just instructional design, style, creativity and
innovation, sidebars and document design, media, hypermedia, tools, teamwork,
textbooks, user guides, marketing goals, reference material, interview
techniques, depth of technical understanding, or any of the dozens of
specialized things that technical writers can reasonably be called on to do
in some way.

Note that while instructional design is on my list, educate is not. Training
might be a better career choice for someone who educates.


> ordered. But we should look for opportunities to give
> our readers documentation that's more engaging.

Whoa. This was the original point of this thread IIRC. I am still not clear
on this point: Engaging according to whom? Is it the gauntlet of managers,
editors, and reviewers who see it first and WILL exercise their option to
modify what you write, or the users who are engaged by fashion (IM-speak),
yet still driven by a need to know?

> At the
> end of the day, I'll do whatever I can to get our
> customers to read what I write.

This sounds more like a writer than an educator, doesn't it?

Right street, wrong direction,

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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Re: The New Communication (was Formality going Bye, Bye): From: Steven Brown

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