I rarely rant here. But I'm going to do it now.
Ever since I started telling people last month that I'd be taking a tech writing job, I have heard more people comment that, because they are good at grammar and spelling and making nice sentences, they would be good technical writers. It annoys me, the same way it annoys me when people say things like the following:
- "A 5K is only 3.1 miles? Oh, I could run that!"
- "I've been dabbling with the idea of writing a book in my spare time. I know I could do it."
- "Oh, I was really advanced when I was a kid, but I can't play at all now." (when I tell people that I play piano at an advanced level)
I want to say:
- No, you probably would not be a good technical writer, particularly if you think the main requirement is to be able to put words together into sentences.
- No, if you don't run on a regular basis, you probably couldn't run a 5K ... at least not with the ease with which you're implying you could.
- Yes, you could probably write a book. Anyone can write a book, I suppose. But no, you probably couldn't write a good book, particularly if you plan to dabble at it and you don't read and you've never enjoyed writing. I don't know if I can write a good book, and I've been consciously working on the craft of writing for most of my life. Oh, and I've been dabbling with the idea of practicing law in my spare time.
- If you dropped piano so completely as a kid, could you really have advanced that much before quitting? I'm not saying it couldn't happen ... I just have my doubts. And thanks for making me feel like my "advanced level," which is now three decades in the making, is something akin to how you played when you were six.
Rant over. Time for bed.