Month: January 2014

The Changing Face of Technical Writing:

At a recent job fair, one of the recruiters said something to the effect, “They don’t have those any more do they?”  Many of the vendors at the fair were looking for engineers and other technical professionals, but I did find several firms looking for technical writers, many on a contract basis.

The question is, Is the field of technical writing going away?  The answer is no, unless, engineers and other technical professionals learn to use language that clients and customers can understand and are willing to write the marketing and training materials that go with the procedures and products they produce.  However, the technical writing field is changing.

I was recently reading a blog that was discussing changing the title of Technical Writing to something more current.  The problem is, while the field of technical writing is expanding, attempts to change the title would only give upper management an excuse to lower the  wages and professionalism of our field; not too mention create confusion among the field itself and emplyers.  Currently, many firms are eliminating their full time technical writers and hiring contract technical writers or temporary technical writers as the need for documentation arises.

These new developments make work in the field of Technical Writing a different creature.  There are challenges, but there are also opportunities to expand the field as well.  The face of Technical Writing is changing.

DragonTech Writing, championing the cause for technical writers.

By Neil Dabb

Advertisements

Technical Writing Defined

Here’s a definition of technical writing that I am going to use as part of a conference presentation:

A broad definition of technical writing: Any non-fiction writing of a technical or business nature. Sub-groups may include: Computer software and hardware documentation, process documentation, training materials, presentation materials, marketing materials, HR manuals, business plans, resumes and cover letters, engineering documents etc. A technical writer also translates technical jargon into English the rest of us can understand.

Alternate titles for a technical writer may include, copy writer, report specialist, documentation specialist.

Neil Dabb

Revised Mission Statement

I met with my partner, Neil, and we revisited the mission statement that I had created. This is what I had created:

DragonTech Writing is a contract technical writing service that provides documentation in the following areas software, process, business, marketing, and portfolios (resumes/cover letters) for companies and individuals. Our mission is to provide companies and individuals with documents that are clear, concise, and useable for their customers, clients, or perspective employers.

While he did like it, he felt that it could be stronger. Keep in mind that he has experience writing mission statements for non-profit organizations.

Our mission is to provide local businesses, individuals, and entrepreneurs with clear and concise business documents (such as resumes, cover-letters, business and marketing plans, instruction and operations manuals, portfolios, etc.) as well as instructions on how to use those documents. We will also aid businesses in documenting processes, hardware, and software.

What he did is he put the people and places that we are targeting first; whereas, I put the types of document first. Basically, that is our market people or businesses who need help with documentation. Our market is not documents, they are not going to make conscious decisions to hire us.

He then stated that we will provide these companies with clear and concise business documents and created a list in parenthesis that clearly shows what we offer. We offer a wide range of services that will continue to grow as our business develops. The parenthesis state here is what we have so far but we are not limiting ourselves and we will offer instructions for the use of these documents if needed.

I will admit I was upset at first; its that ego thing that gets in the way from time to time. In the end, I quickly realized that his mission statement wasn’t better than mine. They both state the exact same thing but his is stronger and targeted for our market.

i or I, that is the question..

I am currently formatting my poetry book and believe me it hasn’t been easy. I tried to do everything on computer but it just wasn’t working. Finally, I put the poems that I want to publish in one .pdf and printed it. I took all 50 some odd pages with me when my husband and I left to cook dinner at our local Elks Lodge.  Okay, he cooked and I was supposed to be the waitress.

However, not very many people showed up to eat dinner so I was able to arrange my poetry book. There were a few people who asked if they could read some of poems and I gladly let them. Everyone who read them seemed to enjoy them. I did get one comment about the i that I use stylistically versus the I that is proper grammar. I know that the I is proper grammar, I use it every day, in everything I write including text messages; much to my kids annoyance.

My poetry is not proper grammar never has been and never will because it is poetry not grammar. Poetry produces an image or a feeling in the mind of the reader and does not have a specific set of rules, grammar or other wise, governing it. For instance, take this poem that I wrote years ago:

You
sighing soft caress
gently whispered words
tender holding arms
soul burning passion
gazing long looks
sweet loving surrender
moonlit perfumed walks
sensuous silk
erotic love

I have been told that this poem is depressing and I can not figure out why. To me, the author, it is about love and how you feel when you are in love. I have reread it over and over again and I still do not understand how anyone could view this as depressing. It is a matter of perspective just like the i versus I in poetry is a matter of style.

My point is this, I know that if I sent a manuscript in to a publishing company with an i, I would get turned down. The little i, in my poetry, is my way of rebelling against the good grammar I use in my professional and personal life. It is part of my style and I am not going to change it just to get published. This is why I have chosen to self publish my poetry book and avoid the issue altogether.

By Melinda Anderson
reprinted from http://me1an.wordpress.com/

Mission Statement

I am starting to write the company goals for DragonTech Writing and have realized that we need a mission statement also known as a 60 second commercial. This statement needs to say who we are, what we offer, and tie into our company goals. Here is my first attempt at a mission statement:

DragonTech Writing is a contract technical writing service that provides documentation in the following areas software, process, business, marketing, and portfolios (resumes/cover letters) for companies and individuals. Our mission is to provide companies and individuals with documents that are clear, concise, and useable for their customers, clients, or perspective employers.

I think that sums it up for now. I am sure there is something I can add or take away, any thoughts?

By

Melinda Anderson