Re: Writers first

Subject: Re: Writers first
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 16:37:27 PDT

>Excellent points, Mike. I've participated on more than one list catering to
>technical writers, and I've often noticed with dismay that many of our own
>profession view themselves as techies who happen to write rather than
>writers who document technical concepts. This may be due to the old
>practice of hiring technical professionals and asking them to write, which,
>thankfully, is giving way to the practice of hiring writers who happen to be
>adept with technology.

Oh, I don't know. There's plenty of room for all kinds. Using people
with impressive technical backgrounds to write documentation is sometimes
the only way to get the really obscure and bizarre products documented
at all.

> It's much easier for a writer to learn technical
> concepts than for an engineer to produce lucid, organized prose.

I don't believe this for a second. What I *do* believe is that writing
lucid, organized prose requires the desire to improve and a great deal
of practice. Few engineers score even 50% on those requirements. But
engineers are at least as trainable as, say, bears. A few zaps of the
old cattle prod for screwing up, a few treats for shambling through the
dance more or less correctly, and we'd turn them into ballerinas in
no time.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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