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Chapter 2. Surveying Your Attitudes towa... > Authors’ Comments: Your Attitudes To...

Authors’ Comments: Your Attitudes Toward Writing

1. Writing is difficult. If you find writing difficult, then you are in good company. Some of the best technical writers find writing to be a demanding, exacting task. These writers, however, are not paralyzed when they must document a technical procedure for other specialists or translate specialized information to an audience of non-specialists. There is, then, a distinction to be drawn: while you may find writing difficult, your apprehension should not be so great that you are unable to convey your ideas.

2. Remembering the rules of grammar will not make you an effective writer. In 1986, a study funded by the National Institute of Education examined over 2,000 publications dealing with research on writing. The researchers could find no evidence that the study of grammar or mechanics improved writing processes or products. In fact, some studies indicated that an over-concern with grammar during the drafting process may inhibit an individual’s ability to compose. Of course, this finding does not mean that standard usage is not an important part of communications, but there is substantial research indicating that an ability to identify parts of speech does not, by itself, produce good writing. You must begin to think about writing not merely as the sum of your grammatical knowledge but as a dynamic process incorporating discovery, organization, and revision. (More about the writing process will be discussed in Section 4 .)


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