RE: Technical Writing vs. Professional Writing

Subject: RE: Technical Writing vs. Professional Writing
From: "Lane, Sion" <slane -at- thrupoint -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2012 11:41:29 +0100

My most positive and baffling response came from a professional

After an intensive diving course I was chatting to the intsructor about
what he did day-to-day and his answer was along the lines of "I do a lot of
salvaging shipwrecks, recovering valuable cargo, but I also work on films
and I've just spent the last 2 weeks working on the latest James Bond Film
(would have been Die Another Day). It was great, we got to drive Aston
Martins around on ice for 2 weeks. What do you do?"

I then rather embarassedly explained what I did, to which his response was
"That sounds amazing". I of course questioned this response and asked if he
was being sarcastic, to which he replied "Not at all, I suppose the grass
is always greener..."

Proof, if any were needed, that being a technical writer is better than
getting paid to pretend to be James Bond...

Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2012 10:22:05 -0400
From: Joyce -dot- Fetterman -at- L-3com -dot- com
To: "Matthew Helmke" <matthew -at- matthewhelmke -dot- com>,
<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Technical Writing vs. Professional Writing
63F43EA99B06CE4594D16F2902CF5F46F22BA3 -at- l3c-xchg-disp -dot- displays -dot- l-3com -dot- com>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Matthew Helmke wrote:
I just say, "I'm a writer." When asked what I write, I tailor the
response to the audience and it will range from highly technical
definitions (for software dev types) to "I write whatever people need
written," which is true as I have worked outside of technical

I usually answer in a similar way, since much of the writing that I do
isn't software-specific. It often opens a discussion about types of

However, last weekend I was attending a CERT training class. The
instructor, an EMT, asked us to introduce ourselves and say what we do
for a living. I simply said that I am a tech writer; his response was
"Oh, wow!", delivered in a sincere and appreciative tone. (People who
depend on accurate writing DO appreciate us.) Made me feel all warm and

Later I was even warmer (though less fuzzy) as, on the hottest day ever
recorded in Atlanta, we went outside to practice fire-suppression
drills! Yes, we set fires so that we could practice putting them out.
Great fun.

Joyce Fetterman

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