General

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

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/

Resumes

A technical writer can take your resume and find a layout to make it pop.  A resume is more than black and white text listing your achievements, education, skills, experience, and technologies. A resume is a marketing tool for any individual looking for a job.

No one is going to take the time to read a resume that is three pages long. No one is going to read a resume that is text heavy.  No one is going to read an unorganized resume.  For example, look at this fictional resume for Ashkevron, Harry (Fictional Resume Original). This resume and others like it will be tossed into the garbage without a second glance.

One job can receive hundreds of application from around the world. Ashkevron’s resume has all of the necessary information that a university would look for in candidates. However, that information is buried and hard to find. The visual clues are confusing and direct your eye down the side of the page skipping over the text that shows his experience.

A resume is like a 10 second commercial. It has to catch your eye, show your skills, and demonstrate your experience while at the same time evoking excitement in the hiring manager. They have to believe that you are the perfect fit for their company. Ashkevron asked a technical writer for help and here is the result Ashkevron, Harry (Fictional Resume).

This resume is only one page and it is scan able. It has visual clues such as font styles, bullets, color, and white space that invite the eye to read the text. This resume now stands out and will get attention instead of landing in the garbage.

What can a technical writer do for your business?

A technical writer can update documentation to reflect new information, new images, or new branding.  A technical writer can create or update training materials to ensure employees understand their responsibilities. A technical writer can document processes to ensure that they are understood by employees and are done correctly by employees. A technical writer can interview subject matter experts to create manuals and service bulletins.

We are very proud to offer our services to help your company maintain its standards.

What is a technical writer?

A technical writer gathers complex information or ideas, interviews subject matter experts (SME), researches the information for accuracy, runs tests to ensure the information is accurate using usability standards, edits the information for inaccurate information, takes or creates images to help bring the information to life, uses or creates templates that are in line with a companies brand, and consistently meets deadlines.

A technical writer has to know how to use different desktop publishing from Microsoft Word to Robohelp, image manipulation software from Paint to Adobe Illustrator, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and quick press such as blogging and Wiki.

A technical writer utilizes skills such as analytical thinking, time management, database or document management, problem solving, creative thinking, and project management.

In other words, a technical writer takes complex information from scientists or engineers and turns it into a concise, accurate document for end users such as client and customers.

We are the intermediary between those who create and those who buy the creations, we are very proud to be that intermediary.