Re: Boring Discussions

Subject: Re: Boring Discussions
From: Karen Mayer <Karen_Mayer -dot- TOUCH_TECHNOLOGY -at- NOTES -dot- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 11:13:27 EST

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I am a recent new subscriber to this list and am also wondering a bit
about the boredem factor (mein angstliches Gefuehl ist, dass die
Langweiligkeit dieses Listes die Verklichkeit von technischen Schreiben
spiegelt). That is, as a soon to be new graduate who is looking into TW
as a possible career option, I am wondering if this boredom does not
reflect the field of TW itself. Please do not be offended by this
statement, but I myslef do find disscussions of grammar and acronym
capitalization somewhat less than rapturous. More, I have not recieved the
epiffany experience I had perhaps unrealistically hoped for telling me
that TW was going to be my lifes work and something that I MUST do.
Again, and I am trying to be honest with myself and the list, I get
a sense of an underlying hope in the disscussions here that people are
desparate to talk about SOMETHING interesting. Is this because tech
writers are living lives of silent desparation or am I, as a neophyte and
potential practitioner, just missing the point and the collective fires
burning out there in the souls of the worlds tech-pubers?

I really want to fall in love with the idea of becoming a technical
writer, could somebody please help convince me that the above impressions
are wrong?

With heartfelt if not brutal honesty,
Willard Brooks

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Not every discussion on this list is going to be of interest to everyone.
I only read about half the posts, myself, but the half I do read are
generally worthwhile IMHO. I can't tell you what will make you "fall in
love" with technical writing. It may not be for every writer, but I
*love* my job.

I love it because I get to work closely with very intelligent people,
because I love computers and like to play with them, and because I love
to write. It also helps if you like teaching others.

Some writers may be living such lives of quiet desperation. I think
that's the exception, rather than the rule, though. Most of the tech
writers I have known are highly intelligent and creative people who have
a fascination with technology. We are explorers by nature, wanting to
know how things work, and we are lovers of language, wanting to figure
out the best way to explain things.

Once you begin working as a technical writer, some of the piddly
insignificant things you think are being discussed here will become huge
and not so insignificant. You will likely want to do your best, to make
sure your documents look good, read well and give enough information
without overburdening the reader. You will need guidance, advice and
encouragement. It's not likely that you will learn these things without
the help of at least one more experienced writer. Once your work starts
getting edited and you see hours of precious work hashed up into bits
with a bloody marker, you will understand why we discuss things like
contractions and acronyms. And you may even post a question like that

Perspective is gained through experience. Tech writing is a fun way to
earn a living, and if you have any interest in it at all, I heartily
recommend it. You may find it's not your cup of tea, or you may find you
could never be happy doing anything else, but you won't know *just* by
reading this list!

-- km

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