Re: I'd rather teach an engineer to write than a writer to engineer

Subject: Re: I'd rather teach an engineer to write than a writer to engineer
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 1995 23:49:23 PDT

>I think what is being forgotten here is that each of us have different
>talents and some are more talented in writing and others in technical
>subjects such as programming. This is why some of us are writers and some of
>us aren't.

This line of argument seems to assume that we know what our talents are;
that, in the vast scope of human endeavor, we somehow understand in
advance what we are good at and what we are not, and choose our
professions accordingly.

Most people *I* know who are thought to have a "talent" for something
have something else, too -- training. People who slaved for five
years in an engineering cirriculum are assumed to have some wonderful
talent for engineering. People whose parents made them practice piano
night and day are hailed as gifted musicians. People with experience
gained from hobbies, summer jobs, or family businesses are assumed to
be the beneficiaries of some wonderful internal gift.

Similarly, virtually all of the good writers I know have spent a great
deal of time aquiring writing or storytelling skills.

Personally, I think a lot of this is nonsense. Most engineers don't
write well because they haven't put in the necessary effort to learn
the trade. Most writers aren't good engineers for the same reason.
I think any writer can become an engineer. All it takes is four
to five years of incessant, stubborn toil at a university with
decent instructors.

By comparison, it's easier to turn an engineer into a writer, in my
opinion. Two years, tops. Of course, few engineers are sufficiently
motivated to even consider such a course of study.

-- Robert
--Robert Plamondon * Writer * robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (408) 321-8771
4271 North First Street, #106 * San Jose * California * 95134-1215
"Writing is like plumbing -- even people who know how to do it will
pay top dollar to keep their hands clean."

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