The Write Way

May 14, 2012

Why technical writing is not boring…

Sometimes forums contain useful information, sometimes not. Every once in a blue moon they contain a gem. One such jewel in the rough had the title “Advantages of Being a Technical Writer” and the content for discussion was the following pithy statement:

Technical writing is not as boring as it seems. There are a lot more advantages to being a technical writer than people realise.

This reminds me of the Monty Python article about accountancy in the Big Red Book. Nineteen pages of drivel cut to one page of tedium. But the author thought he was being interesting and I daresay clever with it.

I would hazard a guess that there isn’t even one single profession (including the oldest one) that is 100% interesting 100% of the time. But what makes a job interesting is not so much the job as how you look at it. I know that I couldn’t be a fireman, so if this was my dream job I would have ended up bored, sitting behind a desk working on the administrative side of the profession instead of sliding down a pole at the drop of a hat. If you like your job, then the interesting bits are more interesting than for those that don’t like their job. So to start a discussion like the above, implies that the author is trying to come up with reasons for something he doesn’t want to be.

And while ranting about this, amongst my other bugbears (like the demise of words like amongst and whilst from popular English usage), I will take this opportunity to apologise to Mr. Orwell for daring to compare myself and my wannabe ramblings with his literary genius in my last post. Some, thought it presumptuous of me, as indeed it was.

A quick search of the web turns up a few articles about the advantages of being a technical writer, none of which, at least after a cursory glance, started by stating that the profession is not as boring as it seems. A search for technical writing as a boring profession also turns up quite a few hits, but the few I checked out explain why it might not be what you dream about becoming when a child but still makes for a reasonably satisfactory career choice.

I have yet to find a such a negative opening line to a reasonable title (“Advantages of Being a Technical Writer”).

Of course there are advantages to technical writing as a job and of course it is sometimes boring (try sitting in a technical spec meeting that lasts for two hours with each developer explaining the finer points of his algorithm to resolve whatever issue the spec is coming to resolve without nodding off).

Curl your toes up in your shoes to avoid falling asleep in these meetings and thereby embarrassing yourself unduly.

After more than twenty years trying to be a technical writer I can categorically state that it is not boring – it is just me that sometimes is.


1 Comment »

  1. […] to a blog post from Wise Writing, the job itself isn’t really that boring, but the content you write probably […]

    Pingback by Technical writing: boring or brilliant | My damaged calm — September 29, 2014 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

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