Design expert Donald Norman has written that when people are anxious, they narrow their thought processes. Conversely when people are happy, they become more creative and imaginative at solving problems. If this is true, it means that one of the best things a technical writer can do is create beautiful content that moves readers to a happier, more adaptive emotional state. Or so I contend.
Technical writers usually think of their job in functional terms: to help end users know something (such as how frequently an oil change is needed for your car) or do something (such as how to actually change the engine oil). Creating beautiful content is typically not seen as a core part of the equation. But what if technical writers thought of themselves as artists whose aim is to create a thing of beauty? Isn't that, in the end, what makes for a positive user experience?
“The only part of an argument that really matters is what we think of the people arguing." So goes one line in this passage from Kim Stanley Robinson's sci-fi novel about settlers on Mars. I think it's more true than we want to admit.
It's quite simple, really: A public pension, encouragement to keep going, and assurance that not all the stories worth telling have been told.
I just published an article on how documentation can enable sales. Here's an annotated list of the resources I used in my research.
Well, whaddya know? Turns out there are advantages to retreating from the frenzy of politics and pursuing beauty as an end in itself.
In which I got some sweet books from a used book sale and started reading Sanderson's 'The Way of Kings' despite initial misgivings. Brief updates too on my essay and fiction writing.
"None of us know what will happen. Don't spend time worrying about it. Make the most beautiful thing you can. Try to do that every day. That's it." ~Laurie Anderson
Lent, Rembrandt, and updates on various writing projects (just submitted another article, yay!). Recommended readings on MLK and celibacy.
What is the purpose of blogging? Should you get into it? In short: (1) it is better than social media and (2) one of the best ways for us to cultivate the Internet for future generations.