Does tech writing bore you?

Sat Mar 17, 2007

A while ago Tom Johnson asked this question in one of his posts: “Is technical writing boring?”. He got such a plethora of responses on both sides of the issue that he and Heidi decided to explore the issue in a recent Tech Writer Voices podcast by the same name. It was so interesting I just had to talk about it here.

I’ve had people coming to this site and just ‘not gotten it’. No anecdotes about getting drunk on Saturday night or about the parking ticket I got today or about my second cousin’s roommate’s sister’s friend’s new baby. What’s up with that? Isn’t this supposed to be a diary or something? Well, it’s just those sorts of casual readers that just wouldn’t ‘get it’. Technical writing is boring to them because they just don’t know what the heck it is.

But what about working technical writers who can’t stand to go to work everyday because they’re bored to tears? Well, Tom and Heidi raised the interesting point that if you’re just sitting there typing “click here…”, “click here…”, “click here…” everyday then of course you’re going to be bored. Technical writers are “information architects” in that they are trying to create a unique and satisfying user experience by creating an “information product” that elevates and enhances the product itself. Technical writers help people find a solution quickly. They bring dry material to life. Technical writers truly innovate and succeed when they explore new ways of delivering information, whether it be through video captures, wikis, blogs, podcasts, database entry tracking etc. We’re in the information age after all. The possibilities in this ever evolving era are endless and exciting.

What I get from this is that it’s like any job. You get what you put into it. So, is technical writing boring? Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it.

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