The Life of a “Technical Writer”

I have been terribly negligent in maintaining this blog. But now that I am linking with LinkedIn, and a frequent visitor to the “Technical Writer in Action” group, I shall endeavor to make more frequent stops. Thank you for your patience and I look forward to any comments!

For the first time in my life, I actually possess the title “Technical Writer.” My principal job duty is developing the operations manuals for laser and lithography systems sold by my present employer.

My whole career has been built on writing. As a trainer, I wrote the procedures and work instructions on which operational training was based. The larger courses were always accompanied by elaborate work books. My writing enabled my training career, which in turn enabled more writing.

Now, writing operational manuals for my current organization, I approached the job with one question: why are we even producing manuals? Was it just because customers expect manuals to accompany multi-million dollar pieces of capital equipment? I came to the conclusion that, in fact, I had not left the training profession, but in fact was developing our customers’ training program (at least as it concerned their use of our product).

The impact of that conclsuion on the development and evolution of manuals has been significant. In fact, it has led to products in addition to manuals.

In my next post, I will explore how treating manuals as training programs has affected my approach to manual development and the products our customers receive. My responsibilities have grown beyond the traditional boundaries of the “technical writer” position, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
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