Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blog #3

Faigley's essay regarding the social perspective was a very technical read. However, it was simple enough to be able to take away some pertinent information to answer this blog question. The social perspective takes an anthropological look at not only the process of professional and technical writing but also how it impacts the writer and the recipients in the contexts of their lives and cultures rather than in the vacuum of a text as a stand alone item. 

Something that writers should consider to participate in the continuous stream of communication is the three questions that the social perspective arouses. Faigley mentions these questions during the last section of his essay.

1. What is the social relationship of writers and readers, and how does this text      function in this social relationship?

2. How does this kind of text change over time?

3. How does the perspective of the observer define and limit the observation of      this text?

These three questions very simply sum up the issues that a writer should keep in mind to effectively communicate beyond the textual and individual perspectives. When a writer can answer these questions they should be able to successfully not only consider the audience and context their writings are targeting but the residual effects that the text will have on future communications with a specific observer but also future writings of their own. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blog #2

Jack Selzer's essay "The Composing Processes of an Engineer" is an in depth and well constructed look into the total composition process of Chicago engineer Kenneth Nelson. Aside from his statements detailing his personal research, interviews, and time spent with Nelson Selzer has so meticulously detailed the start to finish of Nelson's writing that it would be difficult to fabricate. Selzer has very closely analyzed how Nelson plans, outlines, drafts, and edits his various memo's, reports, and proposals. Selzer makes sure to reference specific writings that Nelson composes as well as previous writings that he uses as reference and in some cases actual content of the proposal he is currently working on. 

Selzer shows his own extensive research and analytical abilities in his essay. It is interesting to see how Selzer's narrative of Nelson's writing process mirrors his own. He obviously took very extensive notes through observations and interviews with his subject. He used his findings to create an essay that fully elaborates on the very intricate process of an engineer and his methodical composition process.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Assignment #1

The professional writing field has as many applications as the job market has industries. After examining a few of the websites the same job titles kept appearing. There are technical writers, editors, publishers and public relations specialists. All of these professions revolve very obviously around the professional writing field. However, the skills required of a professional writer can be adapted to other jobs as well. Visual and website designers, translators, and academics all use the same skills even when their jobs don't always directly involve writing. Most fields now require computer skills like Dreamweaver, HTML and CSS in addition to more traditional writing skills such as research, analysis, editing and comprehension. These are skills necessary to perform well in any professional writing job. Aside from being technically skilled professional writers must also be able to consider the target audience of their product and adjust accordingly. 

My interest in professional writing lies in expressing technical processes in a way that people operating outside of that field may understand them. In my work at a local bicycle shop I find that I frequently have to either explain technical mechanical processes to customers so they can understand what is wrong with their bicycle, how we are fixing it, and what they can do to maintain the repairs. I would like to explore the skills required to write technical user manuals for bicycles and bicycle related products. This involves becoming familiar with my audience and more familiar with the products and processes I intend to explain and write about.


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