RE: Writer question...

Subject: RE: Writer question...
From: "Hemstreet, Deborah" <DHemstreet -at- kaydon -dot- com>
To: "Sue Jones" <suej_be -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 08:36:22 -0400

Hi Sue,

I've seen this happen with quite a few people, including myself, in
different ways. For example, I was hired as a contractor to be a writer
- but while I am writing, what I'm really doing is helping to redo the
quality management system for the quality manager, including the
research, benchmarking, etc....

I mention this because in your case, you are being recognized for what
you are able to do well... And given credit for it.

You may think you do not have the experience needed - and granted - you
have a lot to learn, but if you take a step back and look at what
product support needs, and what you have done, it sounds to me like you
have indeed given good product support - in the guise of your writing.
But the impact has been greater than you or others expected.

>From what I have seen in today's business world, there are very few
people out there who are willing to make the required judgment calls to
make things work. I am stunned by the amount of decision making not
made; likewise, how much people don't know and how little they are
willing to invest in educating themselves.

Technical writers (communicators) (whatever) - are a different breed. We
are having to make judgment calls all the time based on one
consideration - how do I get this information to my target audience in a
way they will meet their needs? We make decisions on media, tools,
presentation, content - and we have to justify those decisions to
others. So we read and study and then we study some more.

Why that table design vs. this one? I read a usability study that

Why this media delivery instead of that one? I was reading some case
studies and talking with colleagues, and realized that our scenario is
similar to what XX did - resulting in savings, reduced support calls,

I've seen presidents of huge companies make decisions make uninformed
decisions based on less research than we have spent deciding which font
to use in a document!

The very skills that you have used as a writer are exactly what many
companies need for their project management, development, testing, and
service groups. At the core of our skill-set is the ability to
communicate - and if you don't communicate well - the project can be
doomed from the start.

It is for that reason I prefer to be called a technical communicator - I
believe it conveys exactly what we are doing - communicating. The core
of the job may well be writing - but isn't that the core of a major
software development project? Without good written requirements and
specs - what happens in the development phase?

I remember working at one place where the SW developers made all the
changes - undocumented - wreaking chaos months after product release -
WHO? WHY? HOW? Nothing was written/recorded = communicated!

All that to say (and I believe I speak for many here) We are rooting for
you and congratulations on this great opportunity to grow. You'll always
be a writer/communicator - but now you get to bring others into the
family - and they may never realize it!

Have fun!



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