Re: New writer needing advice

Subject: Re: New writer needing advice
From: "Marc A. Santacroce" <epubs -at- ricochet -dot- net>
To: "Lori Lake" <thelakes -at- sympatico -dot- ca>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 20:51:53 -0700

Lori, what's that line about the Chinese character for crises being a combination of conflict and opportunity? This one may be more of a conflict than an opportunity.

First you need to have a sit down with your manager. If you don't have access to the content, hopefully at least your manager does and will pass it on to you.

Secondly, I would scope the project, figure out what it would take to get the job done.

Then, I'd suggest you convince your manager and higher ups that you should manage a team of n (your number) contract writers to get the initial docs out the door. This is not a one person job, and it's not a two-month job.

If there is no headway in the next two weeks, bail-out, bail-out, bail-out!

My .02


Hello All,

I would really, really appreciate any advice with this situation.

I am woking for a small software development company who has decided that
the documentation department is too costly, so they've let 4 out 6 people go
and the 5th person has quit two weeks ago--that leaves me. This is my first
job as tech writer and I've only been with this company for a few months.

I am not being included in the weekly Manager's meetings, I don't have
access to the latest build of the software, the next release is only two
months away, I'm not sure when, if at all, another writer will be joining
the department, and there has been some major changes to the interface.
Oh yeah, the biggest problem I'm facing--I'm a newbie!

Where do I start? What is the best way to determine whether or not I'll meet
the deadline (there are two 1,000 page manuals--printed, pdf, and online)?
Without having access to the interface, should I document what's in the
external designs and verify later?


Marc A. Santacroce
Senior Technical Writer

ePubs, Inc.

"You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of
The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you
empty the bag of luck."

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