Re: Creativity in Technical Communications

Subject: Re: Creativity in Technical Communications
From: Jennifer Kraus <jlkraus -at- AMETEKWATER -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 09:12:28 -0600

Is it common for technical
writers to write "creative" work--fiction, poetry, personal essays, and so on?

I think so. I entered college as a lit major and aspiring creative writer. I picked up a tech writing minor because I wanted to be able to get regular paying job as a writer, and ended up enjoying the challenge that technical writing provided. I think a lot of creative writers get involved in technical writing because the tech writing program at many universities is lumped in with the English program (although I realize it is a subset of engineering programs at other places).

Can the practice of technical writing--here I mean something like eight hours a day five days a week--inhibit "creative" writing? More
specifically, does the technical writer who aspires to write fiction, let's
say, find herself at the end of an eight hour day just too enmeshed in the protocols of techical writing to think fiction? Or just too (verbally)

Yep. Granted, I'm new at this work-world thing, but I've found that having a full-time tech writing job makes it difficult for me to motivate myself to write creatively "after-hours." When I come home from work at 5:30, the last thing I want to do is sit down in front of my computer at home. And I don't think it's so much that I can't think fiction, because I very much enjoy reading when I get home; I think I'm just verbally exhausted. I would rather be entertained by what someone else has written. But I think this is a dilemma for all aspiring creative writers who hold full-time jobs. It comes down to how much one is motivated at a given time to this point, I'm planning a wedding and adjusting to the "post-college" working-world lifestyle, and writing isn't my top priority. I have friends from college who have run into the same problem and understand how I feel, and I have friends who think I've sold out. I think it all comes down to creating a balance in one's life, and that applies to whatever your interests are, be they technical writing, creative writing, or skeet-shooting.

Jennifer L. Kraus
Technical Writer and Web Administrator
Ametek Water Filtration
Sheboygan, WI

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