No Respect

Subject: No Respect
From: Yvonne Harrison <yvonne -at- IHUG -dot- CO -dot- NZ>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 07:36:21 +1300

Respect and lack of it... Well, my from my own personal experiences over the
years, I think it boils down to the reason everyone wants to write novels:

I can write therefore how hard can it be...

By this I mean that everyone has to write in some form. People write
letters, memos, business proposal and e-mails every day. Unfortunately
people often come to the conclusion that since they can write a letter home
to their mother, a novel - or a 300 page manual - is just as simple only
there's more of it...

I'm reminded of a story in Writer's Digest (I tried finding it to
quote it verbatim but it's dissapeared) where a published novellist went to a
party and was cornered by a brain surgeon who proceeded to tell the writer
how he was going to take a year off and write his own novel. The writer
replied, 'What a coincidence. I was going take a year off and become a brain
surgeon.'

A manager would never dream of standing over a programmer's shoulders and
saying, 'You know - I would never cut code like that.' That's because they
don't understand it and programming is perceived as a high level skill
shrouded in mystery. Writing has no such perception. Managers or
programmers, or whoever, don't see a problem with reading through a technical
writer's work and saying, 'well *I* would never do it like that.'

Unfortunately I don't ever see it changing simply because everyone is exposed
to the English language. Even though most people's skills with the language
are appalling, most people see writing as an exercise in 'putting something
on the page'.

Now if we had to write all or our manuals in Latin it might be a different
story :-)

Yvonne :-)

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