How to Write Error Log Messages

You know in Star Trek, when they’re looking into the Captain’s Log? I bet they also had an Error Message log for when things went real bad. You know, like when the Klingons actually won and took over the Enterprise. Ok, so what’s this got to do with tech docs? Well, it’s a roundabout way […]

Configuration Guides: How To Document Parameters

So, you want to document the parameters for your new Configuration Management Guide. Where do you start? Here’s a checklist of what you need to capture when documenting parameters in technical documentation: Parameter Name Specify the name of the parameter with consideration to case sensitive naming conventions. Likewise, use the correct format and styling when […]

How to find technical writing work using Quora

Are you using Quora to find technical writing work? Maybe you’ve never heard of Quora. Here’s how it works. Think of it as a deluxe ‘Question and Answer’ site focused on the business community. A lot of influential people are there. It has almost no spam or nasty comments. If you want to develop your […]

Technical Documents: 3 Ways to Improve Quality

Who do you write for? This is a problem for many technical writers, especially if you don’t get to meet or interact with your readers. Essentially, you’re writing in the dark. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve the usefulness of the documents. Far from it. Technical Documents: How to be more accurate For example, […]

How To Get More Traffic To Your Technical Writing Blog

To quote Van Halen, ‘everybody wants some.’ And what you want is traffic. Why write a blog if no-one visits, right? I have 17 technical writers’ blogs in my Google Reader & RSS feeds. Most are fine but… if they used some of the following tactics, they’d get more traffic, comments, money and Nobel prizes. […]

How Social Media Will Make You A Better Technical Writer

Gina Blednyh launched the Technical Communication 2.0 group in Facebook in 2009. It explores the interplay between Web 2.0 and technical communication. It’s a terrific place to exchange ideas about collaborative technologies and new approaches to delivering information. In this interview, I ask her how Technical Writers can use Social Media and the types of […]

Are Daily Rates for Technical Writers Starting To Improve?

In December, I looked at the daily rates for technical writers and others in the tech comms industry. At the time daily rates for technical writers are down to $30 per hour in some places in the Bay Area. However, maybe things are starting to turn around. In Ireland (Euro HQ for most US IT companies) Google has announced 150 new jobs, many in technical roles. So, is the tide starting to turn?

How Much Time Do Technical Writers Spend Writing?

How much time do you spend writing every week? Remember, you have 37.5 hours (I know!) for technical writing every week, but how much is actually spent writing? When I say writing I actually mean developing content, so this includes illustrations, diagrams, publishing etc – whatever goes into the final deliverable.

Does your technical writing have an accent?

Maybe you don’t hear your accent, but others do. When you read their documents, does the accent come through?

Are technical documents a waste of time?

“Don’t worry” she said. “No one reads this stuff anyway. Just get it done.” Sounds familiar?

How to Write a Target Audience Questionnaire

Creating a training plan? Before you do this, you need to step a step back and work out what your colleagues need to learn.

Can Outsourcing Help Your Technical Writing Career?

Image by Ivan Walsh via Flickr Most technical writers see outsourcing as a real threat. But, if you look at it from another angle, it’s one huge business opportunity.

Is a Degree In Technical Writing Worth The Effort?

Do you have a degree in technical writing or technical communications? Was it worth the money? If you had a second chance, would you have chosen this or opted for another career path? One of my younger cousins has started her degree in university in Limerick, Ireland. Not the place most of us think of […]

Robohelp vs Doc-to-Help? Which is best for Online Help?

Robohelp or Doc-to-Help? My client has given me permission to use whatever tool I want to do the next batch of tech docs — and they’ll buy the software. No cost to me. Which one should I choose? Robohelp or Doc-to-Help Doc-to-Help was the first help authoring tool (HAT) I used in my technical writing […]

Is the STC Value For Money?

Sarah O’Keefe (Scriptorium) discusses STC’s new dues structure: Dues are going up; Printed publications are no longer included in basic dues; No chapter or SIG membership are included in the basic dues. She adds that while reaction is largely negative, she finds value from her STC membership and gives some examples and reasons to join/stay […]