RE: Book on Modern Technical Writing

Subject: RE: Book on Modern Technical Writing
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
To: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>, "Cardimon, Craig" <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>, "TechWhirl (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:50:11 +0000

I haven't been writing all day in at least 15 years.

Maybe Google or somebody but few companies would support having a tech writer spend 90% of their day learning, through testing and research.

I spend 90% of my day editing and updating, incorporating reviewers' comments, hosting reviews, getting info from SMEs, and then ECO-related stuff when it's ready to go out the door. Yes, I'm currently in a regulated industry but even when I was not, I was not spending more than a paltry part of the day doing actual writing.

It's not the 90s anymore. Those were the golden years when tech writers were actually writing. Some still do, but unless you're writing aftermarket software user manuals or something similar, chances are you're just going to be updating someone else's mess. (Observe the recent nightmare that Keith had to go through with RoboHelp and Frame.)

I'll be interested to learn more about Lightweight DITA and the other lightweight solutions. I have yet to see a single-sourcing/reuse solution that is easy to use and fast.


PS - "Click OK to save your changes." At one position we had that written in several thousand places in the full documentation set (DITA/XML/CCMS). That one phrase probably kept several of us fed for several days. (We were going to put it in a conref but for some reason it was not efficient.) Then the Information Architect told us we didn't need the instruction at all, so we removed it everywhere.

On Tuesday, July 26, 2016 2:53 PM, Tony Chung wrote:

F* yeah:

How to spend your time

Beyond a discussion of tools and workflows, Etter offers some advice for writing good content. He says,

â producing content that people will read and find useful is, like, *really

Instead of writing all day, Etter says technical writers should spend 90% of their day learning (through testing and research), and only 10% writing.
You write only after you have a good understanding of how the system works.

How many times have I climbed this mountain?


On Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>

> Interesting take. Your thoughts?
> Cordially,
> Craig Cardimon | Senior Technical Writer

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Book on Modern Technical Writing: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Book on Modern Technical Writing: From: Tony Chung

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