RE: techwriting style vs press release

Subject: RE: techwriting style vs press release
From: "Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)" <sjanoff -at- celgene -dot- com>
To: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2012 10:30:20 -0700

Hear, hear! Nicely put.

In fact I think poetry would be the pinnacle of such writing, far more so than writing ads. With poetry, not only do you cram ideas into few words, but you cram images and, most importantly, emotions. Ads can have some of those things but the goal is selling, whereas with poetry it's conveying inner experience.

Poetry is on the to-do list and I can't imagine a better way to hone one's writing skills and method of self-expression.


-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Porrello, Leonard
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 8:53 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: techwriting style vs press release

And once again American anti-intellectualism rears its ugly head. The poet is one who has mastered the most difficult aspects of language. Going back to Plato, most if not all of the greatest prose writers in the western intellectual tradition were also poets.

Why would anyone want to keep students away, for any amount of time, from the best examples of great writing that our culture has to offer? If everyone who wanted to write were trained by a poet, the airwaves and internet wouldn't be so full of nonsense. Technical documents wouldn't be so poorly written. The problem with commercial writing isn't that writers can't master story telling or economy or who, what, where, when, why, and how. It is that they have no poetic sense.

If aspiring writers were trained by poets, they would learn that writing is a process and that the first part of that process, and arguably the most important and most difficult, is invention. The second part of the process, which is what some of the contributors to this thread seem to be so in love with, is revision. Revision is also important. However, to teach revision before you teach invention is to castrate the creative process. Creativity cannot be taught; it can only be nurtured. Revising and editing, on the other hand, can be taught.

Any student who wants to write needs to be exposed to great writing, a lot of it; he needs to be nurtured; and he needs to be edited mercilessly and in turn learn how to edit. This is educational process that every great poet and great writer has gone through. Exercises in journalistic writing and ad writing are useful only alongside the types of studies that enable one to produce an idea in writing that is worth revising.

-----Original Message-----

I've seen this happen also. I think that students should avoid English classes that first semester and take Journalism 101 instead. But it'll never happen. Too many poets running the English Department in every college. "Don't stifle creativity. Our Department might discover the next Plath or Stein."

If the reader is not the intended recipient, or the
employee or agent responsible to deliver it to the
intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any
dissemination, distribution or copying of this
communication is strictly prohibited. If you have
received this communication in error, please reply to the
sender to notify us of the error and delete the original
message. Thank You.

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help. Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need.

Try Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.


You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at

Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public email archives @


RE: techwriting style vs press release: From: Bowes, Rebecca
Re: techwriting style vs press release: From: Peter Neilson
RE: techwriting style vs press release: From: Brian.Henderson
RE: techwriting style vs press release: From: Porrello, Leonard

Previous by Author: RE: How do you ensure document quality?
Next by Author: Re: Having fun with your resume - good idea/bad idea
Previous by Thread: RE: Information security compliance
Next by Thread: RE: techwriting style vs press release

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads