Friday, December 26, 2008

the writer in me

Scott has an old post available for the holiday respite. The argument is so subjective, yet it's always nice to revisit it at different points in your career.

In my second job as a paid "technical" writer, I worked for a guy about ten years younger than me and fresh out of college. He was smart, technically savvy, and something of a documentation whiz. I learned a lot from him about systems-oriented documentation and testing practices. I don't think (at least I don't remember) that he was a very good writer of things other than manuals and testing docs. After our small software company was bought/sold for a second time, he accepted a tech writing gig out of state. At his going away lunch, he told me, "Look man, I don't want to be a technical writer when I'm 45."

That life statement has stuck with me for 15 or so years now. Every once in a while, when I read articles about the lack of artistic "writerly" talent that is involved in really really really good technical writing, I get a little introspective and think about being a writer -- technical or otherwise -- at 45.

I'm a couple years shy of 45 and I find it harder each passing day to accurately call myself a technical writer. But I do wonder about the young guy I worked for -- why he thought that being a technical writer at 45 was something he couldn't feel good about. I wonder about thinking of myself as a writer of any kind, which is also something I'm finding harder to do each day.

Next year is a few sunrises away. There may be a resolution awaiting me on the other side.

1 comment:

Mike Frasciello said...

Ben's timing is perfect. See