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I hold an English degree, and I once (no, twice) attempted to write a novel.
So I initially reacted with horror when I read Doreen Mannion's original
post in this thread.
After all, I know that anyone who can write well can be trained to be a good
technical writer--I was trained by a good boss, and I helped train a few
good writers to be good tech writers.
But I've never been in the position of HIRING tech writers, and I've never
been in the position of having to hire someone who has to become productive
immediately. You can lose a lot of productivity helping someone learn that
every red mark (or blue, if you prefer) on their copy is not a personal
attack. You can also lose productivity getting a writer to understand that,
although their personal 'voice' is clever indeed, they need to fit their
style to the needs of their audience.
Come to think of it, I don't WANT to be in the position of hiring tech
writers. Or any other kind. Doreen has found the parameters that work for
her organization, so more power to her.
Doreen, if you ever need an English major and failed novelist who overcame
those handicaps, give me a call! ;-)
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