Subject: Creativity
From: Anatole Wilson <awilson -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 09:00:20 PST

Having received my BA in Creative Writing and my MA in Professional/Technical
Writing, I contend that there is very little difference between "creative"
and "technical" writing.

In "creative" writing, (which I'll assume means writing fiction or poetry),
you're trying to achieve the same goals you're trying to achieve in technical
writing; you're communicating ideas to an audience, you're describing
physical attributes and processes, and you're trying to present your message
clearly in a way that will interest and inform your readers.

In "technical" writing, you must always strive to be creative, to present
your information in the clearest and (hopefully) most interesting way possible.
That means experimenting with formats, organization, and media.

In my past occupations, I've written magazine articles for scientific and
high-tech magazines. I was communicating technical information, but in a
creative way that I at least hoped captured the interest of the readers.
Were the articles more technical or creative? I don't think you can divide
them up that way.

I also used to write marketing materials for a computer hardware company.
Again, highly technical information that had to be presented accurately and
at the same time capture the interest of someone browsing through the catalog.
(Many of my fellow writers at that company were also writing for magazines
and/or writing fiction.)

When interviewers look at my resume and protfolio, they often ask me, "so--
are you more of a creative writer or a technical writer?" In fact, I think
it's the question I'm most frequently asked. I always answer, "well, I like
to think of myself as creatively technical and technically creative." and
then, if I haven't lost them :), I explain how my technical pieces have
all required creativity and how my creative pieces have technical aspects to

Anatole Wilson "We are all interested in the
Sr. Assoc. Information Developer future, for that is where
IBM, Santa Teresa Labs you and I will spend
awilson -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com the rest of our lives."
all company disclaimers apply - Criswell, Plan 9 From Outer Space

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