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Subject:Re: novelists part II From:Yvonne Harrison <yvonne -at- IHUG -dot- CO -dot- NZ> Date:Wed, 2 Apr 1997 16:01:39 +1200
Hi All - -
Well, I couldn't hold my fingers back from typing any longer... I am
forced to contribute my two cents worth to this ongoing discussion...
So, I ask - what about people who are technical writers who are actually
published? Does this mean a technical writer shouldn't be hired because
they proved that not only can they write a damn good manual, they also
happen to have the gift and energy to continue to write their novel,
script or poetry after office hours?
Personally, I have found people more than eager to hire me, based on
both my proven skills as a technical writer and the fact that I can trot
out a long list of published works (including poetry, newspaper articles
and writing credits on a local TV comedy show) that demonstrate I can
handle different forms of writing. I was approached this morning by an
old project manager who said, "I'm doing a multi-media project and you
were the first person I thought of because I need someone who is an
excellent technical writer and can come up with some really creative
I also enjoy working for another project manager who is not only a
published novellist but an agent and editor. He is in hot demand by
clients because of his abilities to present good, solid, creative
solutions to their problems.
I think anyone who won't hire a technical writer based on the fact that
they are an aspiring novellist or have been published, is (to be frank
here) an idiot. Technical writers with aspirations in other fields of
writing can adjust their style to whatever area they're in, usually have
excellent copy editing skills, care about their work, and come up with
the best ideas.
I've been lucky enough to have been able to hire technical writers for
my teams and I'd rather hire a person who demonstrates a real love of
writing than the person I met two months ago who told me they were a
technical writer because, "I want good money and for me it's a
no-brainer. I just write a crap first drafts and let the SMEs do all
the work". (This of course, was right after he'd been fired from his
current contract). My novellist/project manager also agrees with me -
he'd rather hire someone with the drive and spirit or a 'writer', not
just a 'technical writer'.
Now, I'm not being disrespectiful to people who are only technical
writers. Far from it. I've met a lot of good technical writers who
have no interest in any other fields of writing. I'm just saying that
not hiring a person on the basis that they happen to be multi-talented
is like being given the opportunity to have Annie Leibovitz take the
photos for your company brochure for a cut-rate price and not hiring her
because she once worked for Rolling Stone and you can't see how that
could possibly mean she's any good :-)