Subject: Basics
From: "Damien Braniff" <DBraniff -at- amphion -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 08:45:58 +0100

Following the recent posts on grammar, degrees etc I got to thinking on
what we, as TWers, should have as a basic 'toolset'. Some (very!)
initial thoughts:

* Language proficiency. We must be able to use that most basic
tool of the trade. We don't need to be grammarians etc but we should all
know the basics and have the relevant reference books to hand to check
anything we don't know. This includes the ability to communicate clearly
(text, graphics etc).

* We should know the basic tools-of-the-trade (WP package, drawing
package etc) and the ability to learn others quickly as needed.

* Basic design skill - document design, use of graphics etc. Once
we have our text (or whatever) we need to be able to present it in a way
that the reader will understand and, ideally, want to use!

* 'Information mining' - how do we learn about what we write? Here
I'd include research skills, interpersonal skills (interview techniques
etc). We should all know how to do internet searches, ask questions
(that will get answered)

* Thick skin! For most of my career I've had people comment on my
work - some who knew what they were doing, many who didn't. We need to
be able to take it all with a pinch of salt - take what's useful and bin
the rest (bit like mailing lists!)

* 'Technical bent' - this I'd describe as an aptitude for learning
about whatever I'm documenting at the time. This can very greatly from
writer to writer and from subject to subject from very technical to not
technical at all.

Comments? Left the list short so others can have a go :-)

Damien Braniff
Technical Writer
Amphion Semiconductor Ltd.
50/51 Malone Road
BT9 5BS Belfast, Antrim
Northern Ireland

Tel: 028 9050 4000
Fax: 028 9050 4001
E-mail: dbraniff -at- amphion -dot- com

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