The (Literal) Art of Technical Writing

In one of my technical communications courses yesterday, we turned the discussion to audience and art. One of my classmates wondered if writing is less of an art form if the writer allows too many concessions for the audience’s sake. The other argued that we should avoid excessive pandering to the audience, as we should …

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Mediums in the Field

In “Technical Communication Unbound: Knowledge Work, Social Media, and Emergent Communicative Practices,” Toni Ferro and Mark Zachry studied PAOSs (publically available online services) in the workplaces of knowledge workers. They concluded, “In our survey population of knowledge workers associated with the technology sector, PAOSs are used a considerable amount of time for work purposes—on average, …

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A Brief Commentary on Ethics

When I was reading Johndan Johnson-Eilola’s “Relocating the Value of Work: Technical Communication in a Post-Industrial Age," I was shocked to read: “Stephen Katz suggests that the rhetorical emphasis on expediency and decontextualization inherent in technical communication allowed Nazi administrators and engineers to sidestep ethical issues involved in the construction of vehicles for transporting prisoners …

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Striving for Objectivity & the Inclusion of Subjective Experience

When I was working on my beginners’ van conversion manual, I spent countless hours perusing the online participatory community of van dwellers. Van dwellers are people who voluntarily decide to take up a mobile lifestyle and convert vehicles into living spaces.  It quickly became apparent to me that this form of technical communication--that is, van conversion technical …

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My Relationship to Writing & an Exposé of Textocentrism

When I began writing and thinking of myself as a “writer”, my perception of what “writing” is was very linear. To be fair, I was in early elementary school when I decided I wanted to be a writer, but this perception lasted at least until the beginning of my college years. It wasn’t until I …

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Is Grant Writing “Bloodless Narrative” or Shared Story?

“Clear prose doesn't mean abstract and lifeless writing. Solid argument doesn't mean bloodless narrative.” - “Three Keys to Writing Good Narratives (Grant Writing Tips) After working for nearly five months on a directed study centered around a storytelling-based app in May of 2018 (not including the month I spent with a group developing the idea as …

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Two Sides of the Same Coin: Writing, Design, and a Brief Critique of Comic Sans

I took advanced English classes throughout high school, and not once did any of my teachers focus on anything other than the written essay. I graduated with critical thinking skills, a knack for analysis, and experience in composition, but I had never learned that there was more to writing than just a carefully constructed paper …

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Humanistic Rhetoric & “Mediation”

A quote by David N. Dobrin in his piece What's Technical about Technical Writing? was very interesting to me. He states that teaching technical writing should not be described as teaching students to write manuals or technical prose. Rather, it should be described as teaching students how to make their work useful to the people they …

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