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I agree that there is no substitute for experience. I certainly agree with you
that both rhetorical skill and experience (technical expertise?) are equally
important. I think a competent writer, possessed of the rhetorical skills, can,
with proper application of self, acquire the expertise necessary to create the
It tends to annoy me when people focus on one or the other of these two
concepts as somehow the only one that is important. (As in, "Any idiot can
write. What you need is to be technically competent." Or on the other hand,
"I'm a Writer, not a mechanic, Jim!" <g>) I think a writer can be an effete
snob, to quote Spiro Agnew, something I rarely do. And I think a geek can churn
out words that may, or more likely may not, communicate something to an
audience. But it takes a Technical Writer, a true Technical Writer, to marry
the two into the discipline we practice under the rubric of Technical Writer.
--- walden miller <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com> wrote:
> All that you have said sounds like experience of writing is what you rely
> And that is the type of experience I am pointing at that cannot be taught.
> I am not speaking of "number of years service".
> What allows you to accomplish the mission before you is your past experience
> and present skill.
> Perhaps I put too much emphasis on experience and should include rhetorical
> skill as the two complementary parts of tech writing that form its essence.
> I can live with that. But in terms of a technical writing education, my
> point stands that this type of experience is only found on site on the job.
> Walden Miller
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