Re: Just can't help myself

Subject: Re: Just can't help myself
From: Martin Bosworth <martinhbosworth -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 13:54:58 -0400

> No, I don't.
> Where I am now, I'm documenting a web "backoffice"...databases, code,
> processes, features, instructions, data flows, etc.
> A year ago, I was at B& and I was documenting a web
> "backoffice"...databases, code, processes, features, instructions,
> data flows, etc.
> Between these gigs, I was documenting an application, which included
> processes, features, instructions, data flows, etc.
> At all of them, I was interviewing SMEs, managing the project, which
> included full MS Project plan. each of them, a project plan
> was required by management.

Ah hah! But does your experience symbolize the majority of TW's? I
can't say if it should or shouldn't. Just from reading the comments
other people make, I can say that everyone seems to have individual
career trajectories. Some follow yours, with laid-out plans,
guidelines for documentation, etc. Some are seat-of-the-pants, make it
up as you go along, etc. Some are in between.

That's the point I'm making. My experiences are in the "in between"
category. Your mileage may vary.

> My last five gigs all started with blank screens and I write from
> there.

I hope someday to be able to do the same. If I keep up on the
trajectory I'm on, I will. :) But again, not everyone gets to start
with the blank screen. Some people get handed a completed document and
get told to "make it pretty and publish it".

> Certification would not be mandatory...except for companies who are
> looking for writers who can approach the documentation with a proven
> methodology.

But what demonstrates that a writer knows the methodology?
Certification courses that train you in the methodology, or experience
in using that method in other business ventures?

> That's an absurd extension. By being certified, you're going to
> forget how to write?

I didn't say that. :) What I said was I'd rather be the guy who KNOWS
how to write and can prove that he has the skills to do so from my
work, rather than spend large amounts of money to get a piece of paper
that SAYS I can write.

If we're looking at certification as an instructional course, then go
for it! Hell, I'd sign up for all the TW instructional courses I could
if I had the money and time to do so. Maybe I'm looking at this wrong,
and someone who has taken courses in technical writing or
communication can better explain how certs might help in this area.


Martin H. Bosworth
Technical Writer, Telemedicine Directorate
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (
Writer/Editor, (


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Re: Just can't help myself: From: John Posada

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