Creative vs Technical

My day job is Technical Writer. My job-for-pleasure is more Creative Writer. And although you may think that writing is writing, there's a definite pull to opposite polarities on those two.

The Technical stuff is very analytical, very plod-along-in-this-direction-and-conform-to-these-guidelines. It involves Facts and Figures and Geek-Speak, all of which need to be translated into something that both your average user and your educated installer understands. There's no room for error, and sometimes even correcting a developer's grammar gets them hot under the collar for "changing everything!"... (Getting the info out of them in the first place is best not discussed at all) There's a very fine line to walk between being too technical and being too easy-to-understand.

The Creative side, well - anything goes really. Although things like writing for a Landy mag require a certain theme or focus, the rest can flow the way I want it to, at the pace I desire, and Me can come out.

Sometimes I think the Creative is constantly battling the Technical. Other times they seem to balance and compliment each other. But being both Creative and Technical can lead to challenges.

For one thing I work in a very Technical environment, dominated by men. Now men work in a linear manner - they go from one side to another in a straight line, keeping focus on one thing until it's done. Women don't. We multitask, we jump from item to item - which is why you'll find me compiling a help file on one screen, with another open to my work email, then Firefox on Blogger, 3 websites and Google, with IE on our company website via my second screen - all at the same time. I'll be typing this between tasks, feeding the creative while the technical ticks over toward its deadlines.

Which, of course, drives some folk nuts. :-) Especially male folk who are working linearly while I jump from one thing to the next and get them all done at the same time.

But here's the deal: if I only focus on the technical, I won't actually be able to write anything. Feeding the creative while still doing the technical benefits both. Creative stuff helps my brain understand what needs to go into the technical, and technical stuff helps me focus on the creative bits. Getting the creative goodies out has the technical percolating slowly in the back of the mind, and I tend to come up with much better solutions for what needs writing later.

It's a tough balance, but it seems to work. Even though sometimes the technical seems sawdust-dry in comparison to the creative.