Re: Creativity and Technical Communication

Subject: Re: Creativity and Technical Communication
From: "Mark L. Levinson" <mark -at- MEMCO -dot- CO -dot- IL>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 15:01:32 -0800

"Creativity" is a misleading word. It sounds as if it means making
a new thing, whereas psychologists tell us that creativity consists
essentially of finding new connections between existing things. (So,
for that matter, does a lot of humor.)

Carolyn Haley is right that technical writing is predominantly
problem-solving. Occasionally, the solution to a problem may be
a creative one. The first writer who said "think of your hard disk
as a filing cabinet" was being creative in explaining the concept
at hand.

But for the most part, the solutions to technical-writing problems
are not particularly creative, they're just elegant. The downside
of creativity is that personalizes your writing. You can get away
with sounding like a distinct individual if you're writing a third-
party manual like a "for Dummies," but not if you're supposed to
be the definitive voice of a technically-oriented corporation.
If the customer of the Veeblefetzer receives a book that reads like
"Joey's Take on Using the Veeblefetzer," then the customer thinks
uneasily, "Would someone else have told me something else? Something

Everyone would like to be thought of as creative. I saw someone
claiming once in _Advertising Age_ that sending out bills on time
was a form of creativity. But just as not all creative work is
necessarily good, not all good work is necessarily creative.

- Mark L. Levinson - Memco Software - PO Box 58161 - 61581 Tel Aviv
- work: mark -at- memco -dot- co -dot- il / tel. 03-6450049 / fax 03-6450001
- home: nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il / tel. 09-9552411 or 09-9555720

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Re: any suggestions? (why not to be a TW)
Next by Author: Re: Apologies for multiple sends
Previous by Thread: Re: Creativity and Technical Communication
Next by Thread: Re: Creativity and Technical Communication

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads