Better technical writing

Why is it that software specifications are always written so horribly? In fact, almost all technical writing is bad: Documentation, RFPs, proposals, you name it.

Sure, the really talented writers would rather write the Great American Novel than the specification for the 100th “What Is My IP?” web service. But it doesn’t take an exceptionally talented writer to write well. And it surely doesn’t require exceptional writing by any standards. But couldn’t we do just a little better?

I believe most people can learn to write reasonably well. I think the problem is that most people have no idea how to do it. They don’t know what makes good writing good, or bad writing bad. They don’t know what to aim for, they don’t have a vision for their writing skills.

Fortunately, that’s fairly easy to remedy: Try distributing a copy of On Writing Well to your team, and see what happens.


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