RE: A Question for Newbies and Intermediate Writers

Subject: RE: A Question for Newbies and Intermediate Writers
From: "Hightower, Mary" <mary -dot- hightower -at- corp -dot- bellsouth -dot- net>
To: "'Sheldon Kohn'" <Sheldon -dot- Kohn -at- onlineinsight -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 11:00:49 -0400

Hey, Sheldon!

Regarding what was helpful on my first year or so as a Tech Writer:

- style guide, standards and a template
- a boss that gave me the final decision of content, style and format
- STC membership and the opportunity to pursue other related resources
- copies of documents written by experienced Technical Writers
- the ability to see and use the product *exactly* as the customers do
- proximity to the developers, engineers, QA or whoever I was writing for

The only thing that would have been most beneficial, but never got until 5
years into my career - working with an editor.

Whatever documentation you have, give the writer first choice in writing it;
from forms and reports to specifications, design documents and user
documentation. This will help build the writer's portfolio and experience


Atlanta, GA

-----Original Message-----
From: Sheldon Kohn [mailto:Sheldon -dot- Kohn -at- onlineinsight -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2000 9:57 AM
Subject: A Question for Newbies and Intermediate Writers

Hello All,

I am asking for advice and perspectives based on your experience when you
entered the tech comms field. I am working in an Internet start-up, and we
will be adding many new developers over the summer. Management accepted my
proposal that we hire a new technical writer now and spend some up-front
time getting this person up to speed. After a comprehensive search, we made
an offer and received an acceptance from an entry-level person.

I have identified some tasks that our new writer can perform immediately to
start being productive. As I work on developing a schedule for getting the
writer fully functional as quickly as possible, I find myself wondering what
types of activities, projects, and assignments are most useful.

My question to those of you who are relatively new to the field is, what was
most helpful in the first weeks and months of your professional life? I do
not want (or need) to take a "sink or swim" approach, so I want to make sure
that we use our limited ramp-up time wisely.

TIA for any and all responses.

Sincerely yours,

Sheldon Kohn
Online Insight, Inc.

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