Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
From: Julie Knoeller <jknoelle -at- CISCO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 10:55:55 -0700

As a fairly nontechnical technical writer, I have worked hard to market
myself only for situations I can reasonably handle. Mainly because I care
about doing a good job and not making a fool of myself. If there are others
out there more interested in grabbing the bucks than the integrity of their
work (as I'm sure there always will be), I say "buyer beware." I've never
been denied a job because I was honest about my experience, training, or
level of technical aptitude. It seems like there's probably enough tech
writing jobs at varying levels of technicality out there to accommodate a
wide range of talents. I've always gotten really good reviews and
evaluations of my work both from pubs people and techies and have been
encouraged to stretch my technical knowledge and take on challenges I might
not have initially thoght I could--so I don't think there's a lot of danger
in being pigeon-holed as nontechnical if you're willing to admit what you
do and don't know. A willingness to learn seems to be what many if not most
pubs groups value (if they're smart!). On the other hand, maybe I've just
been lucky...

Just my $0.02

Julie Knoeller
Cisco Systems, Inc.

At 10:22 AM 5/6/98 -0800, Tony G. Rocco wrote:
>=46unny, I was thinking about this issue just today. There is a certain iron=
>to being a technical writer for many of us: we are technical writers
>because we are NOT technical people. Sounds strange, but if programming in
>C and Java and knowing the intricacies of networking were our first loves,
>we'd be engineers and programmers. But writing and editing are our first
>loves, so we're technical writers, not technical people.
>Why be a technical writer and not a poet, novelist, or journalist, then?
>The answer is green, as in the color of money. In an ideal world, I'd
>probably be one of the above rather than a tech writer. But the world ain't
>My goal in life, professionally speaking, has always been to support myself
>*well* working as a writer. Tech writing is the only way I have found to do
>this. Journalism and publishing, both of which I have tried, don't pay
>adequately. Advertising copywriting is sleazy. Tech writing pays and it's
>ethical and actually helps people.
>I will always think of myself as a writer and editor first, and anything
>else second. I will earn my living worrying primarily about bullets and
>style sheets as long as I can.
>Others feel the same?
>- tgr
>At 10:30 PM -0700 5/5/98, Andrew Plato wrote:
>> I have an issue for everyone to ponder.
>> =8AIt seems like there is a glut of writers who can discern the minute
>> intricacies of bullet shapes and alignment proportions, but they can't dea=
>> with anything remotely technical.=8A
>Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for
>the love of it, then you do it for a few friends,
>and finally, you do it for the money.
> -Moliere

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