What do you write?

Most of my experience is based around software documentation. Whilst there are several levels to this, from task oriented User Guides through to highly technical API/SDK documentation, they tend to follow similar patterns making it easy for me to take my experience and apply it to new challenges.

I’ve also been involved in writing up procedures and guidelines as part of an ISO quality system, a little whitepaper style writing, and even the odd product brochure. All of which require a slightly different approach but the same grounding in the basics of understanding the audience.

However I’m aware that there are many other forms of technical writing, and I’m curious to find out what everyone else does? Do you write documentation for hardware products? Do you write proposals? Procedures?

Ultimately I’m starting to look at other areas of our profession to see if there are any good things that I can re-use where I am. If you have a moment, I’d love to hear what your main writing focus is, let me know in the comments.

3 comments

  1. – Conceptual and Procedural L3-L5 Networking Documentation (maybe a little L2)
    – Procedural OS System Documentation
    – Procedural Hardware Documentation
    – Network/LAN Application Analysis
    – Non-technical User Documentation (actually “dumb user”) GUI based documentation.

    The funny thing is that in all my years of tech writing, I’ve done barely any non-print documentation.

  2. w0 – thanks for chipping in. Interesting to hear that you’ve done little “non-print” work, which is the complete opposite from me.

    Do you find you can take processes and working practices across from one type of document to another?

  3. Sure – my documents are fairly homogeneous. I have 3 – 4 sources of information, 1 audience, 1 output format. Large differences in process occur when I’m acting as either project manager vs writer vs editor, but they are very different tasks.

    Hey! check this out, I distilled my process (as a semi-autonomous TW) into a GIF file. I don’t claim that the following diagram is the paradigm of tech writing, but it works for me.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/tw314pi/Semicolon?authkey=9qflgEBdnwQ#5247401428013867810

    Notes:
    1) “wrt:whole product” is when I consider where the piece I’m working on fits into the larger product I am responsible for.

    2) “procedures” under “Write:”, in DITA should be tasks, heh but that’s just semantics.

    Is this what you were curious about? Does this tie into your message and my response to this post: http://www.onemanwrites.co.uk/2008/07/22/consideration-layer-model/

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