Ode to a Maintainer of User Guides

One job in my IT career was as a technical writer and editor. This included many kinds of writing, and editing of various kinds, on a wide range of types of document.

I moved from programming to writing, and back to programming, system design and development generally, and so on over the years.

But some technical writers and editors stick with that: documentation. The following is about the writer and editor who toils at the job perennially. “They also serve ...”

Ode to a Maintainer of User Guides

In every paragraph of every book
That underpaid technical writer wrote,
And in each superscripted word’s footnote
You’ll surely see if you will only look
Some misused word that someone else mistook
And our poor writer in blue-pencil’s coat
Passed over; so, if we should take a vote,
Let us not hang him on Unletter’d’s hook:
Where malapropic synonym’s not found —
And to replace one word will not suffice —
He needs must change whole paragraphs around
Redrafting every sentence once or twice
With few hours till the deadline! Thus, to sound
The knell, and hang the man, would not be nice...

© 1995 Ian P. Hudson
Headley, Hampshire