The Manuscript Podcast, with Breno Barreto -- Episode 2, How technical should a tech writer be?
Here’s a description of The Manuscript:
In The Manuscript, we delve into the intersection of writing and the development of technology products. Every couple of weeks we talk to people making a difference in Technical Writing, Instructional Design, UX Writing, Content Strategy and anywhere else there’s someone thinking about content in digital products and the tech industry.
Currently, the podcast has just 3 episodes (interviews with Mark Baker, Jacob Moses, and me). Breno interviewed me for the episode How technical should a tech writer be? The description of this episode is as follows:
Tom Johnson is a technical writer from California, currently working for Amazon in the Appstore group. He is also the creator of the blog I’d Rather Be Writing, one of the most influential blogs on technical communications today. In this episode, Tom explores how a tech writer should approach the balance between writing expertise and technical knowledge. He also talks about the most common pitfalls in writing API documentation and shares his thoughts on how beginner writers should tackle the challenge of learning to use and document APIs.
Here are some questions covered during the episode:
- What motivated you to start blogging?
- Have perceptions about the job of tech writers changed from the time you first started blogging?
- How does copywriting compare to technical writing?
- How do we find people who are both technical enough to write but also interested and willing to write documentation?
- How technical should a tech writer be?
- Does the high traffic to your API doc site indicate that tech writers are eager for technical education?
- How do you go about continually learning and increasing your expertise in the field?
- Where do developer docs usually go wrong?
- What is the technical writing process at Amazon like?
- Is there a place for exploratory writing in the workplace?
- How do you write for users with different levels of expertise?
- What trends are developer docs moving towards?
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.