Engineers and Writers

Subject: Engineers and Writers
From: Documania <dcma -at- MAIL1 -dot- NAI -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 08:31:42 -0600

The people I know who are extremely good at anything are, perforce, much
less good at most everything else. There's only so much energy and time
available to us, so when you choose to specialize you have no choice but to
let other things go. Thus, I would expect that the most brilliant engineers
are probably weak writers, and the most brilliant writers are probably weak
at learning or understanding engineering. The best tech writers, therefore,
are probably good writers with a solid understanding of technical subjects.

There are exceptions, I'm sure. My viewpoint is formed by a lifetime of
studying the subject, because I am by nature a generalist and my life has
been filled with specialists. The differences between our lifestyles,
priorities, talents, manner of thinking, etc., are profound and consistent.
And though I can't speak authoritatively for anyone else, I do know that
I've had to make conscious decisions about what to keep or discard in my
life in order to specialize or prioritize, and I'm therefore not extremely
good at anything. But I'm good to very good at many things; lightly
knowledgeable about many more; and have a simplistic, gut understanding of
many, many more. My specialist friends, conversely, don't know squat about
anything outside their fields but are spectacularly good at what they do.

Carolyn Haley
dcma -at- ct1 -dot- nai -dot- net

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