Re: wannabe tech writer

Subject: Re: wannabe tech writer
From: Megan Golding <mgolding -at- secureworks -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: 26 Dec 2001 12:00:13 -0500

On Wed, 2001-12-26 at 11:48, kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com wrote:
> Don't get me wrong - I do love to write. But to me, tech writing is more
> about learning and teaching than it is about writing. You don't really
> spend your day just writing; you're acquiring and assimilating
> information, then organizing and presenting it. It ain't Shakespeare
> (although I've seen some work that's sort of like Hemingway with
> bulleted
> lists...).

Right on, Keith! A job as a Technical Writer is not just writing. In
fact, I spend about 30% of my time writing and the remainder _learning_.

I started my career as an engineer, in an engineering department whose
main objectives were passing information from an R&D group to customers
and vice versa.

Upon joining the group, I found talents in training and writing.
Relative to the rest of my engineering team, I was better at explaining
things to other people. Over the years, I developed skills to complement
my talents and chose to focus on writing manuals instead of teaching

Now, as I gain perspective on how I got to be called Technical Writer, I
realize my true talents are in learning new things, breaking it down to
tasks, and explaining this to the uninitiated.

My writing skills are so-so. I struggle to get a paragraph to sound
"just right". However, I can approach a complex system, understand it,
and describe to others how it works. I've often described what I do as
translating. I speak "geek" and "regular" and my job is to translate
between the two.

So, to the aspiring tech writers reading this, ask yourself this, "Do I
like to explain how something works to someone who doesn't understand?"
That, to me, is the key to tech writing.

Meg, "call me Translator"


Megan Golding (mgolding -at- secureworks -dot- net)
SecureWorks, Inc.

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
-- Timothy Leary

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