Imagination and Tech Writers was Re: third party manuals

Subject: Imagination and Tech Writers was Re: third party manuals
From: Rose Wilcox <RWILC -at- FAST -dot- DOT -dot- STATE -dot- AZ -dot- US>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 10:46:00 PDT

Someone (I'm not sure who; my mailer strips the header) wrote:
>OK, I'm a little short on imagination (I'm a tech writer after all) but

Hey! Let's not typecast ourselves, here. *You* may be short on
imagination, but I'm overflowing with it.
Some of us are more right-brain; some are more left-brain.
We each bring our own diverse talents, skill-sets, personalities,
tendencies, and strengths to this career.

I don't think of tech writers with the stereotype
that popular culture has given, say, to an accountant-type person.
(Not that actual accountants live up to their stereotypes, either;
just that we don't have an image in popular culture... yet. But now
that Dilbert's gotten ahold of us... :-)).... I know a pretty diverse
set of tech writers; enough to feel confident in asserting that tech
writers as a whole are very imaginative. Perhaps you are more
imaginative than you give yourself credit for.... Here are some ways
we may use imagination in our tech writing jobs:

Deciding the tasks that a user might want to use the software or
hardware for - imagining ourselves in the user's shoes

Deciding on the organization of a manual - imagining the affects of
differing types of layouts on the readers and material

Working on graphical design of a manual including typography,
illustration, cover design, etc.

Solving problems in writing - intuitive leaps into different paragraph
and sentence structures to express complex ideas in a simple way

Solving tool problems and publishing problems - imaginative solutions
to various obstacles encountered in the course of production

Working with difficulty personalities - imaginative solutions to getting
the information you need to complete the documents

Fun with expression in meetings - expressing your point vividly and
effectively to management, developers, users and all the other
folks we work with

Imagining the perfect job :-) the one with the good pay, great benefits,
congenial coworkers, pleasant environment, all the bells and whistles
on the software and hardware we used to create the doc, interesting
and varies subject matter and forms of documentation, goals and
recognition for our efforts, etc.

Oh, I could go on....
Rosie (NorthCrowe)
rwilc -at- fast -dot- dot -dot- state -dot- az -dot- us
ncrowe -at- primenet -dot- com
"Few people have the imagination for reality."
"Your audience is one single reader.
I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person --
a real person you know, or an imagined person
and write to that one."
John Steinbeck

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