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How to Up the Drama in Your Technical Documentation

Posted by
Anastasia in Technical Writing on 7/17/20193 min read

People come to technical writing from various fields and backgrounds. Quite often these people can be connected with other forms of writing. Journalists, bloggers, and others who have mostly dealt with more creative forms of content can feel trapped in the help authoring routine. They feel smothered by the lack of creativity, or, to put it another way they are smothering and hiding away their artsy side and it can become a real struggle.

The Joke's on You

How do you spice up content creation when you are writing technical instructions? Well, you obviously can't use too many epithets or metaphors. There's little place for emotions in technical documents. However, some companies are trying to use technical writing as a tool for establishing or further promoting their company's image.

A good sense of humor, for example, can be a trait your company is known for. And, this means, that even your help topics might have a couple of jokes in them. Google, for example, does that in online documentation. However, Google's got a whole team of experts that are trying to figure out what is appropriate. Moreover, these experts are studying other cultures as well, to make sure that localisations meet ethical and cultural specifics of different countries.

Not every company has the resources Google has, so, in order to avoid leaving a negative impression, mostly people choose to stick to the safer side of things in their user manuals.

Shift Your Perspective

Not being able to use creative potential can lead to burnout. One might argue that people should try practicing their creativity elsewhere, but there are ways to change how writers view help authoring processes. This shift can be a breath of fresh air.

Try changing your perspective on writing instructions. For example, you can play around with their format to make them not as boring for the readers.

Being systematic is considered an important skill of a good tech writer. So, if you have it in you, then the chances are pretty high that you will feel satisfied by the process of breaking down a text to adapt it perfectly to readers' needs and looking for the best way of getting a message across. This can be a very entertaining and rewarding thing to do. Especially when you feel like you did accomplish something.

People Matter

People can become your source of inspiration, as well. We know that some doc teams are tiny so a lack of day-to-day communication can be an issue. As for freelance writers, this can be even worse.

Attending conferences and meetups can be just the 'drama' you need. Such events are quite spread in the techcomm community and they incorporate so many good things: learning new stuff, understanding the industry trends, finding out about new tools and, most importantly being in a warm company of like-minded people!

As a rule, emotions from conferences last for a long time after the event is over.

Here's the list of upcoming techcomm conferences for Q3 and Q4 2019. There's yet a lot to do this year!

Conclusion

Everything in life is just a point of view. We see the confirmation of this daily. So, if you feel like you need more drama in your technical communication, you sure can find the right source.

However, some people are just not fitted for their role and it is absolutely fine. If you keep feeling stuck and whatever you do, you continue to perceive job responsibilities as a routine, you might want to rethink your career path. You don't have to necessarily stop writing, just look for a better-suited role or, maybe, a new professional field. Luckily, technical writers are present in pretty much any field.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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