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Subject:Re: novelists part II From:Brett Peruzzi <Brett -dot- Peruzzi -at- FDC-INVEST -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 2 Apr 1997 08:13:24 -0500
I can't let this one go by without contributing my $0.02 either.
I'm a hiring manager, tech writer of 10 years, former English major
(as well as M.S. in TW) and a creative writer who has been published.
When I've interviewed and/or hired TWs who also pursued other types of
writing, the crucial issue for me was not whether they were
TW/novelists, poets, journalists, or whatever.
It was the type of person they were, and what their work ethic was,
and how their past endeavors exemplified the type of employee they'd
probably be for me. Yes, sometimes you go with intuition, and see
where the cards fall.
Two of the best hires I have ever made were an ex-journalist with no
TW experience, and a poet with no TW experience. Both came into the
company in unrelated entry level customer service positions, but made
rapid transitions to TW after they got the chance to transfer to my
I saw in both of these people some key traits that I knew would be
useful in TW: an intense curiousity, honed writing skills,
perserverance, independence, etc.
The adversity faced in other writing pursuits sometimes makes TW
problems seem relatively easy for some of these folks. Poets and
fiction writers with piles of rejection slips, and journalists who've
worked under daily or weekly deadlines have some good preparation for
some of the challenges of TW.
Does it necessarily mean they'll be TW stars? Far from it. But it
certainly isn't a reason not to hire them if all other indications are
that they'll be a good employee.
Documentation Manager, Tech Writer, Editor, Poet, Journalist
(Emphasis varies depending on the time of day and day of the week)
**Definitely expressing my opinions only today, not my employer's!**
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: novelists part II
Author: Yvonne Harrison <yvonne -at- IHUG -dot- CO -dot- NZ> at Internet
Date: 4/2/97 4:01 PM
Hi All - -
Well, I couldn't hold my fingers back from typing any longer... I am
forced to contribute my two cents worth to this ongoing discussion...
So, I ask - what about people who are technical writers who are actually
published? Does this mean a technical writer shouldn't be hired because
they proved that not only can they write a damn good manual, they also
happen to have the gift and energy to continue to write their novel,
script or poetry after office hours?
Personally, I have found people more than eager to hire me, based on
both my proven skills as a technical writer and the fact that I can trot
out a long list of published works (including poetry, newspaper articles
and writing credits on a local TV comedy show) that demonstrate I can
handle different forms of writing. I was approached this morning by an
old project manager who said, "I'm doing a multi-media project and you
were the first person I thought of because I need someone who is an
excellent technical writer and can come up with some really creative
I also enjoy working for another project manager who is not only a
published novellist but an agent and editor. He is in hot demand by
clients because of his abilities to present good, solid, creative
solutions to their problems.
I think anyone who won't hire a technical writer based on the fact that
they are an aspiring novellist or have been published, is (to be frank
here) an idiot. Technical writers with aspirations in other fields of
writing can adjust their style to whatever area they're in, usually have
excellent copy editing skills, care about their work, and come up with
the best ideas.
I've been lucky enough to have been able to hire technical writers for
my teams and I'd rather hire a person who demonstrates a real love of
writing than the person I met two months ago who told me they were a
technical writer because, "I want good money and for me it's a
no-brainer. I just write a crap first drafts and let the SMEs do all
the work". (This of course, was right after he'd been fired from his
current contract). My novellist/project manager also agrees with me -
he'd rather hire someone with the drive and spirit or a 'writer', not
just a 'technical writer'.
Now, I'm not being disrespectiful to people who are only technical
writers. Far from it. I've met a lot of good technical writers who
have no interest in any other fields of writing. I'm just saying that
not hiring a person on the basis that they happen to be multi-talented
is like being given the opportunity to have Annie Leibovitz take the
photos for your company brochure for a cut-rate price and not hiring her
because she once worked for Rolling Stone and you can't see how that
could possibly mean she's any good :-)