Re: The tools tech writers use

Subject: Re: The tools tech writers use
From: Doug Parr <dougparr -at- INTEGRITYONLINE9 -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 19:43:10 -0600

Andriene asked what tools writers use, and why.

I've found that when an employer defines the tools, it's because a bean
counter or a boss makes a decision based on hype or cost, never on the needs
of the writer. That's not a new tactic. Back in 1981, I began using a
typewriter. My boss didn't like that at all. "Use a pad and a pencil," he
said. "You're a writer, not a typist."

Later, I got a computer and used WordStar, the touch-typist's word
processor, and Ventura. Bosses and bean counters bought Word Perfect for
their employees to use, but I still have WordStar on my old DOS machine.

I use Word, RoboHelp, and Front Page because I like them. (OK, OK, I'm also
the boss, so the boss bought them for his employee.) I also have FrameMaker
and PageMaker, neither of which I like as much as the old, pre-Corel, DOS

Ever notice how an ad for a writer always says something like "Must have 3
years experience with ForeHelp"? Have you ever seen an ad for a carpenter
that said "must have 6 years experience with a Mikita saw and a Stanley
steel-frame hammer"? That would insult the carpenter, wouldn't it. Looks
like someone has pegged us tech writers as one-trick ponies who can only use
one or two tools.

I'm not limited to certain tools. I stay abreast of new tool technology by
using the tools. I keep and use the ones I like. And yes, I like Word. It's
a few parsecs ahead of a pad and pencil.

Doug Parr
The Write Place
Colorado Springs

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