My Foray Into Tech Writing

A few weeks ago, a generous client of mine, one for whom I have done some ghostwriting and copywriting, offered me a technical writing assignment. She is creating, generating, and revising hundreds of documents which are required for her company’s ISO certification. I agreed to try my hand at the technical writing and eagerly dug into the first few documents she sent. They were pretty straight forward- so much so, in fact, that I decided to pursue more tech writing with her company this summer instead of creating online, multi-media courses for my summer launch.

THEN… she sent me four new documents for revision and fourteen email exchanges she’d had with a half-dozen other people which she wanted incorporated and applied in the revision process. So many acronyms, document titles made up of jumbled letters and numbers, spreadsheets, and documentation. Holy monkey brains, Batman! I was at a complete loss! I found myself sitting in front of my computer, staring at 16 open documents, holding the sides of my head to keep my brain from exploding. I know I’m not a stupid person, and I recognized the language the documents were written in as English. But what they had done to clear communication was a disgrace! I might as well have been reading a foreign language. The most telling part of it all was that some of the documents contain “Work Instructions” which, presumably, are meant to be followed by some entry-level worker bee. Um, yeah. Good luck with that!

Anyway, the upshoot of it all is this: I am not a technical writer. I don’t have the skill set (or the patience!) to ever BE a technical writer. But I am a darned good teacher of academic writing. And I’m a good fiction writer. And I enjoy writing bible studies and some nonfiction too! So, I have let go of my mis-inclination to try my hand at tech writing for good. And the online, multi-media academic writing course is back on the calendar for an early summer launch! Stay tuned for more breaking news on this project…