RE: Breaking into the tech writing job market

Subject: RE: Breaking into the tech writing job market
From: "Mike Schmidt" <mschmidt -at- weathercentral -dot- tv>
To: "Robotti, Anne \(Carlin\)" <ARobotti -at- CarlinGroup -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 08:57:39 -0500

I'm repeating what I've been taught. It's not condescending at all. The
theory is that many don't refer to the manual until they're having a
problem (myself included), and at that point, they don't want wordy,
grammatically perfect novel writing. They want: "To make it go, push the
green button."

My first boss (and mentor in this field) used to write like we was
writing a novel. Too wordy, too involved, etc. I agree that you need
simple, concise, easy-to-read steps. Hence, a 6th grade level.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mschmidt=weathercentral -dot- tv -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mschmidt=weathercentral -dot- tv -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
On Behalf Of Robotti, Anne (Carlin)
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 8:53 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Breaking into the tech writing job market

> Something we have a lot of in our audiences. If you remember your
> basic intro to tech writing classes, they tell you to write at about a

> 6th grade level.

I think that's a very condescending and obnoxious thing to say. And it's
probably a root cause of the "users is soooooo stupid" attitude that
makes a lot of engineers and tech writers unbearable, IMO. If you're
writing for adults who are brand new users of a technology or product,
you have to be particularly clear about each step, which you should be
anyway. There's no reason to term that "a sixth grade level" and it sets
up bad karma.



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