Writers and Illustrators

Subject: Writers and Illustrators
From: Angela Howard <angela -at- NAVISOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 11:38:11 -0700

I know this is going to sound right out of the '60s, but why can't we just
get along? I hope not all illustrators are as defensive of what they see as
their turf as Mr. Maloney. But to tell you the truth, I've seen lots of writers
on this list pretty defensive of their turf, too. Right now I hear some writers
saying that they believe there are illustrators who can write, but it's a
different story when we're talking about engineers and programmers doing
their own writing. (My background is in programming.)

PLEASE note that I am not talking about everyone on this list. It's not my
intention to make generalizations when what I'm essentially saying here is not
to make generalizations!

I also belong to the indexers mailing list, and I must say I find their attitude
much more positive and professional. There are a fair number of technical
writers who ask indexing questions, because in the real world we can't all hire
professional indexers just as we can't all hire professional illustrators. I've
never heard anyone on the indexers' list say "What makes you think you can
write an index; you're not a professional indexer." The indexers are more than
happy to help tech writers write their own indexes, because they are interested
in having good quality indexes out there, no matter who writes them. There is
even a professional indexer I know who offer courses on indexing
specifically for technical writers.

If we're really interested in quality documentation, shouldn't we all be
helping each other to that end? Can the illustrators offer courses in
illustrating to
technical writers and technical writers offer courses in writing to
illustrators? Can the technical illustrators offer illustration advice to those
of us who have to do our own illustrations? I know there is at least one
professional indexer who lurks on this list (Hi Lori!) and gives advice
whenever the topic turns to indexes. Can technical writers, likewise, be a
resource to programmers and engineers and illustrators who have to do their
own writing?

Please, let's stop the turf wars and help each other do our jobs better. If
we do that, I think we'll have a lot more respect for the people in the
other professions and be a lot more likely to call on them when we're out of
our league and when we have the resources to do so.


Angela M. Howard
Technical Writing and Indexing
America Online, Inc.
angela -at- tools -dot- gnn -dot- com
(805)882-2350 x126

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