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How do you define successful writing?

Late last week, I briefly participated in a Twitter chat about techincal communications blogging. While I was involved, I was told by Julie Norris that she enjoys this blog because Larry and I make her think.

I thanked her for the compliment and stated that I hoped I could always inspire some thought with what I write. I then went back to work on course development. (I've already written about that so no more details in this post.)

Over the weekend I started thinking about Juie's comment. I started to question why I blog. I took a quick look at the articles I've written over the past few years and here's what I saw.

Originally, I wrote just to state facts. My earliest posts go back to what I saw and experienced at conferences. That was basically reporting with commentary and I suppose it might be interesting to some but I found that I'm not a great reporter. (This is probably because I hate carrying around a pad and pen and am even more loathe to be typing at a laptop during a presentation. You might also notice that I don't tweet much during a conference presentation, though I might afterwards.)

As things progressed, I started sharing my thoughts about various aspects of technical communications. I still write that sort of article, but I find that I am more in a mode of providing observations about technical communications that come from life experiences. I guess I'm in some sort of allegorical mode right now. However, the consistent thing about my current writing is that I do try to spur either discussion or thought. This might be to fill the inate need I have to be a creative writing. I haven't written much fiction over the past year or so, but I've been doing more blogging and other writing. I guess I'm using the blogging as my creative outlet.

What's the purpose of creative writing? To make the reader sympathize with a character or characters and to make them think about the problems and situations the characters encounter. So it's no surprise that my current blogging tends to instigate thought about technical writing. So if I get you thinking, I know I'm successful.

If I don't engender thought, what's the use of writing?

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About the Author

Julio Vazquez

Julio Vazquez is a Senior Information Architect at SDI with over 30 years of experience in technical communications and information technology. As one of the members of the initial DITA task force, he takes his share of blame for the current architecture and language structure. Julio holds a bachelor’s degree in computers and information systems from Empire State College of the State University of New York and has spoken at technical communication and STC conferences about DITA and information architecture and is the author of Practical DITA.

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Monday, February 21, 2011 6:10 PM
Engendering thought is one of the finest purposes of writing. I find others are just as worthwhile:
- To save others time and trouble by sharing something took you some time to find out and that you think will be helpful for others, too.
- To share experiences and to let others know: "You are not alone."
- To connect the people you write about with the people who read you.

Just my two cents, Kai.
Julio Vazquez
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 8:23 AM
Thanks, Kai. All your reasons are valid, and as I look back I do think I've shared some (if not all) of those things at one time or another. You've validated that I am, truly, successful.
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