Tech Writers: Strictly Tech?

Subject: Tech Writers: Strictly Tech?
From: Benjamin Milstead <guilden -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 1996 03:00:48 -0500

Hello to everyone.

I've not been on the list long, but I must say I'm intrigued by some
of its intensity. I subscribe to a number of other lists, as I
guess many of you do, and this one certainly has its own flavor; this
forum seems to have become a meta-forum lately, fueled by Eric Ray's
post. I have to say that Eric's suggestions are what my
expectations are of this list, for the most part, but I'll earn a
little more lurk-time before offering any arguments one way or

On to a query, if you'll indulge a newbie:

I work full-time developing computer reference books but would like to pick up
some freelance writing jobs. I've been browsing some of the contract and
other tech/doc writing jobs on the Web in various spots to this end,
and have submitted a dozen or so queries in response, and maybe
another dozen cold.

Almost all of these job solicitations/posts ask for a substantive
amount of technical background--closer to what I'd call an engineer's
or programmer's knowledge than a writer's.

Yet, the posts on this list are generally of a non-technical nature:
the emphasis appears to be on english syntax (dare I say grammar),
style, clarity, organization (& problem-solving & philosophical threads
of course) as opposed to a pure content or development discussion.

To a point this is rational, since the list doesn't revolve around a
specific OS or application (e.g., a Java or HTML or VRML discussion),
other than perhaps common trade tools like HTML or WinHelp or WPs.

Hence, what's the scoop? Are you engineers-turned-writers or
writers with a technical bent/experience/talent-for-learning-a-new
-piece-of-software-on-a-familiar-platform-in-no-time-at-all (has to
be a word for this somewhere :)?

Thanks for any responses in advance.

(On a related note to some of the discussion I've seen on
telecommuting: I've gotten quick responses so far from almost all of my
queries, and none of them are interested in telecommuting. Everyone
I've received a reply from wants a resume/samples for a full-time


specialization is for insects --l.long

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