Re: Creativity in Technical Communications

Subject: Re: Creativity in Technical Communications
From: Paula Puffer <techwrtr -at- CEI -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 18:09:40 -0600

At 02:35 PM 3/26/97 -0600, you wrote:
>You know, creativity tends to be a kind of subversive, sneaky impulse
>that gets into what people do, especially when it happens in something
>as grey as technical writing.

Hmmm I don't consider technical writing to be grey, I think it's grey if you
want it to be. I never thought as creativity as being subversive, I just
thought it was something that I am as part of my job when I am designing the
lay out to go with the words I write.

An artist (which I am at night) can throw
>creativity around in the open. Art is open to creativity, and has few
>other concerns. A tech writer has to apply creativity in more subtle,
>tightly bound ways. There is deep creativity in communicating precise
>messages within the bounds of formal English and a restrictive style
>guide to people who aren't paying attention, but we don't yell "hey, I'm
>being creative" because it doesn't work that way. The brick has to be
>well wrapped or they see it coming.

I agree that technical writers have to be more subtle in their approach to
creativity simply because we have to write to the audience and know what
what is appropriate and what is not. Let's face it, it while flaming purple
cows may be neat on a personal web page, they won't go over well on a
corporate site.

>I'm taking this message over to the bar for further discussion in a more
>appropriate venue: techcomm -at- user -dot- itconsult -dot- co -dot- uk

Hmmmm I'm not sure that this isn't an appropriate venue for the discussion.

I meant to post my response to Rachel here on the list but forgot to add the
techwr-l address so here it is.

<introductory stuff cut>

I think one of the most creative forms of technical writing are webpages.
They involve technical writing skills, design and layout skills, knowledge
about graphics and how to create and design them. I enjoy working with web
pages as a whole. Also writing articles for different sorts of journals is a
way to excercise your creativity. When I was at Iowa State, I wrote articles
about indigenous knowledge and agriculture, as well as how to do web stuff
for a business. I don't know how to help you with the key word search. Maybe
you need to broaden it to include writing in general or freelance writing.

The creativity I feel in my technical writing really comes from the design
aspect of it and the varied kinds of writing I do.

There's my .02 cents

So am I up to a nickel's worth here?

Paula Puffer
techwrtr -at- cei -dot- net
Thesis Project: The UWC Online
Class Web page: RHET 1312

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