I Am a Writer

Outtakes 112


I Am a Writer

By Cait Collins

 Writers’ groups and conferences provide opportunities to meet new people and learn more about the craft of writing. Introducing yourself to another attendee might go something like this.

            “Hi, I’m Cait Collins. I’m the chairperson for the conference.”

“Nice to meet you, Cait. My name is James Davis. I’m from Albuquerque.”

“We’re glad to have you join us. Is this your first conference? What do you write?”

“Yeah, my first. I thought I might pick up a pointer or two. I’m a tech writer. I produce training manuals. I know it’s not glamorous, but someone has to do it.”

Why is this writer apologizing for his profession? Just because he is not a novelist, poet, screenwriter, playwright, or children’s author does not disqualify him as an author. In fact, many talented men and women make their livings as journalists, lyricists, ministers, historians, business correspondents, copy writers, and text book writers. These folks are members of the family of writers and authors.

No matter the genre or professional title the basic skills of writing apply. Proper grammar, spelling, formatting, and continuity are required. Attention must be paid to style and the audience. Research must be complete and no short cuts may be taken. The materials must be crafted in a manner that will inform, train, teach or entertain without being condescending or superior. Such writing requires the same professionalism as that of a novelist or poet.

So next time a writer introduces himself as a tech writer, welcome him and pick his brain. Consider what we might learn from this new point of view.


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