This blog lists insights and skills about getting our ideas or a piece of information across easily: in other words, making others ‘get’ it. We call it technical communication: helping others understand something to achieve what they want.
Practically it is about writing documents, drawing signs, making notes, creating spreadsheet and powerpoint slides – all stuffs we do to make our clients/boss/spouse/neighbors/kids/government take an action, or understand something.
Many tools and info are already available online – software, tips, self-test, podcast, so on. What I try to offer in this blog is a point of view, coming from the experience and insight from an almost self-taught technical writer working in Taiwan’s IT industry.
The entries will be biased, topics will have less consistency, information will not always be the latest, and the whole blog will present only a partial picture of the world of technical communication. But they will always be true, from the author’s point of experience and view. (*)
Here is the background story of how I became a technical writer.
Ever had the feeling that your life wasn’t working at all and you didn’t even know What, How, or Why? Of course, life is not that unfair. Fortunately in my case the rest was pretty clear: Who, Where, and When. I, here, now (then). Messed up.
That helplessness, the feeling that I was drowning inside a gigantic washing machine (filled with underpants, what else?) with my hands tied at the back, was the beginning: I might not be able to change the world (**), but I might be able to figure out what the hell is going on.
So I started skill training for ‘figuring things out’ and became a Field Application Engineer because a big part of that work was about figuring out what was going on in the business scene:
- Sorting out chaotic situations (The product is in development hell)
- Showing what the reality is (Delivery is 3 months away, coding finishes next month. No, it is the other way around)
- And follow through… (Bad news: the entire team should stay at the site until completion. Good news: the hotel is only 5 minutes away)
As we see, out in the field frequently we had to put our hands really dirty, so I switched to technical writing which has been a far better match for me. Smaller team, less politics, more flexibility (it is much easier to change texts rather than software codes), and above all, more about creating things and less about fixing problems.
* Whatever unrelated stuff will go into the brother blog, Free the random thoughts.
** Of couse now I know: we
can change the reality just by thinking according to quantum physics always have the choice to change ourselves and our behavior, which is about changing our world.