Technical writing is a necessary evil

We don't write manuals because it's fun. We write them out of necessity, because some tasks are too complex or too important for us to trust them to memory.

Is it taboo to write such a statement on a technical writing blog? That technical writing is tedious?

I think it's an honest statement.

But I'm thankful for the challenge. Because if technical writing was fun, everyone would be doing it. At parties, everyone would talk about the user manual they were writing and how they hoped to get it published.

Salaries would tank, and we'd all get paid a pittance in royalties instead.

As technical writers, the principle of supply and demand works in our favor. No one wants to write user manuals; it takes too much concentrated effort on mind-numbing subjects. Therefore, people are more than willing to pay us to do the job.

When I tell people I'm a technical writer, they either don't know what I'm talking about, or wonder why on earth I'd want to do such a thing. Wouldn't writing novels be more fun?

But I enjoy my work.

Not the subject matter, administrative details, or anything of that nature.

I enjoy that I can write one day, edit graphics the next, and write code the next. Because of the ever-changing nature of my job, I feel a certain sense of freedom. That feeling of freedom tells me I'm in the right career.

As a fiction writer, I'm worse than average.

As an artist, I've neglected my questionable abilities.

As a computer programmer, I know just enough to be dangerous.

But as a technical writer, I can write the procedures, prepare the graphics, wrap everything in valid HTML, and deliver it all by the scheduled deadline.

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