Re: How to keep going once the honeymoon's over ....

Subject: Re: How to keep going once the honeymoon's over ....
From: Jeff Hanvey <jeff -at- jewahe -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 13:25:47 -0700 (PDT)

The thing that sticks out to me the most in your post is the line "no one who wants to be responsible for explaining the machine to me." I'm going to sound a bit like Andrew Plato, but it seems appropriate in this context.

Based on this line, I have a feeling that your coworkers just might feel that you have no concept of mechanics (and, worse, that you don't care) simply because you're "waiting on them."

In technical and mechanical fields, which are usually male-dominated, you can't sit aside and wait for the explanation: you've got to be aggressive in seeking out the information. There's simply no room for a person who's worries about getting a spot on his/her shirt.

Also, these people might not have worked with a writer before, and they simply don't know what there role in the relationship is.

In either case, you've got to take control. If no one will explain things to you, then you'll need to get out of your ivory cubicle and get your hands duty (i.e., get into your grubbies, meet with the machine's operator, and watch him/her in action). If the machine isn't in action, but still in testing, perhaps you should be in the testing room.

Next, you need to meet with your supervisor and explain to him/her what *you* expect from a review.

The bottom line is that you *and* the company are both in training - they're learning what a tech writer is and what the expectations are, while you're learning the mechanics.

Being proactive is the only way to get attention. Once the guys around you know that you *do* care about the machine and see what you're expecting from them, your job will be easy.

Good luck,

--- lpurcell -at- utk -dot- edu wrote:
>I've been writing for a company for about 6 months now, and am running
>into the biggest snag yet ...
>I am working to create a user's manual for a new piece of machinery that
>has no documentation and no one who wants to be responsible for explaining
>the machine to me. However, I just handed in a rough draft last week and
>heard back today that I have a month to revise it. Fine, but I have
>gotten no feedback! I guess I'm just not sure where to begin, when told
>"this is awful, do it again" but am not sure what's awful and where.
>Please feel free to respond directly to me or to post to the listserve.

Jeff Hanvey:

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