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Technical Writing is Not Boring

27th June 2012 Posted in Blog, Documentation, Technical Writers 2 Comments

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Technical writing has gotten a bad reputation for being boring.  Many people have found documentation to be dry, uninspired, and textbook-like.  (And, to be fair, sometimes it is.) Now, this isn’t a bad thing, but it’s certainly enough to keep people away from reading this type of writing.  But there are reasons why those who consider it boring should reconsider.

  • Information is power at work – When you know what to do, you have more power in your job. You will know how to handle problematic situations and how to manage new job responsibilities.  (But you have to read the documentation.)
  • Fewer errors – If you’re using technical documentation properly, you can avoid issues in processes, while also saving yourself time and effort along the way.  Imagine not facing the problems you’d face without instructions.  That leaves you with time to be bored, but it also makes the writing much less dull.
  • Better experiences – The experiences you can have on the job or with the software systems you’re using can be easier and more enjoyable.  When you know how to use the program, you’ll get more out of it.

Still think technical writing is boring?  Think of your life when you don’t interact with it.  Yes, you still need to read, but reading can be good, especially when rewards are waiting in the end.

As a technical writer, what kinds of tricks of the trade do you use to break up the monotony?

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  1. By Kell Condonon 12th, July 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I’ve found that using visual models can be really helpful in communicating complicated information to a range of readers across the skill continuum. In our work on software requirements, we have created our own set of visual models that illustrate and expand on the sometimes dry list of requirements, and we have found this has greatly improved the level of engagement and comprehension around the technical writing process.

  2. By editoron 12th, July 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Kell- wholeheartedly agree with you. It speaks to the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

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