… in one or two or even three styles or areas doesn’t mean you can tackle other types of writing. I was reminded of this when reading a blog post by my pal Tom Johnson.
As you probably know, Tom is a well-known blogger and technical writer. In his blog, Tom recently discussed a week he spent in his employer’s marcomm department. Tom noted:
Apparently the ability to write a blog post doesn’t always translate into the ability to write other sorts of communications.
You shouldn’t expect to be able to do that. Let’s face it, you just can’t always jump into a new form of writing. Before you do that, you need practice. You need mentoring. You need education, even if it’s self education. Even then, being successful (or even effective) is definitely not a lock.
I know some good writers who can’t do marketing communications. I know a few communications professionals who can’t write good documentation to save their lives. I know technical communicators who can’t write a very good article or blog post. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good at what they do. It could be that they can’t transfer their skills to another form of writing. Or maybe their minds are locked into one form of writing and they can’t break free of those shackles.
Trust me, I’ve been there. While I’m a fairly good writer of non fiction and documentation, I’ve never had much luck with fiction. I worked at it for quite a while, but I could never get the skills down. That said, I did learn a few things from trying to write short stories that I’ve been able to use in writing non fiction.
Writers, like everyone else, have limitations. Sometimes you can’t overcome those limitations. If you try and fail, will be a better person and (I hope) a better writer for it. Give other types of writing a try. If they don’t work out, pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Then focus on your strengths. Improve in the areas in which you excel.
Thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment.