Stay updated
Keep current with the latest trends in technical communication by subscribing to the I'd Rather Be Writing newsletter. 5,800+ subscribers. (See email archive here.)

Search results

I'd Rather Be Writing blog

New article in API course -- Questions to ask during a documentation kickoff and demo
At some point after receiving a new documentation project, the first step in the project is to hold a documentation kickoff meeting and product demo. These meetings are mostly about gathering information so you can create the documentation. The following are some initial questions and topics for these meetings.
Inexpensive media hosting and CLI uploading with Wasabi?
If you need an inexpensive way to host media, and your egress GB bandwidth (related to site traffic) is less than the GB data you're storing, Wasabi might be an option to explore. Combined with GitHub Pages, this could be an inexpensive way to host a website.
ISTC article on developer documentation trends
I recently wrote an article for the Institute of Scientific Technical Communicators (ISTC) magazine Communicator called 'Developer documentation trends: How developer documentation trends differ from general technical communication trends.' This article provides the official writeup and analysis from the developer documentation survey that I conducted at the beginning of the year.
Playing a product design role as a content designer -- podcast with Jonathon Colman
In this podcast, I chat with Jonathon Colman about an innovative work model they implemented at Intercom with content designers. In their experimental model, content designers were allocated to one project only, and they expanded their roles to include not only content design but product design as well. These content/product designers engaged on a deeper level to help products succeed.
When 10X translates into -10X: debunking the myth of the 10X technical coder/writer
A recent episode of Command Line Heroes explores the negatives of toxic 10X coders. I think a change in mindset to acknowledge how each of us climbed to our levels can help avoid some of the toxicity inherent in 10X.
SDK release process article added to API doc course
I added a new article covering SDK release processes in my API course. Even if engineering teams distribute the SDKs, they often look to tech writers for guidance on the Readme, signoff, and other input. The process in the article describes a few callouts that you should look for before distributing SDKs and other code artifacts. You can read the article here: Processes for managing SDK releases.
DX content strategy article added to API doc course
I added an article about content strategy for the developer experience to my API doc course. As the content grows on a developer portal, there's an increasing need for some technical writers to expand their documentation roles from individual contributors creating and publishing new content to dedicated content strategists instead. These dedicated content strategists manage the processes, standards, tools, governance, and workflows for the content that is primarily authored by contributing teams. You can read the article here: DX content strategy with developer portals.
Processes for managing large documentation projects and small documentation requests
Lately I've been thinking about processes for managing documentation work, and I decided to describe in detail a couple of different workflows -- a process for managing large documentation projects, and another process for managing small documentation requests.
Webinar -- Optimizing Content Development: Grow Your Content Faster Than You Grow Your Team
I recently participated in webinar called Optimizing Content Development: Grow Your Content Faster Than You Grow Your Team, with Paul Gustafson and Megan Gilhooly on August 5, 2020. A link to the recording is now available.
Part VI: Results from the survey correlating org models and tech writer value
In the previous post in this series, I included a survey to gather feedback from readers about their layoff experiences and whether the organizational model has any impact on the value tech writers receive in organizations. In this post, I'll analyze the survey responses and draw conclusions where possible.
A tip for doc reviews -- bring a list of questions
Although doc reviews are a central part of the tech writing process, it's often a challenge to get teams to review docs. One tip is to bring a list of questions to the doc review. This provides more structure and focus to the review meeting.
Write the Docs Podcast episode 30: Documentation templates, with Juan Lara
In Write the Docs Podcast episode 30, Juan Lara from Google joins us for a lively discussion about documentation templates.
Writing productivity tip: Focus sessions
I'm trying out a new writing productivity tip that seems to be working fairly well for me: focus sessions. A writing focus session is a one-hour session focused on a writing task. I made a goal last week of doing four writing focus sessions (at work) each day. I figured I should at least be able to devote half of my work day as a professional technical writer doing writing. This technique has boosted my writing productivity recently.
Part VI: Conclusion, analysis, and feedback
Several takeaways to fix the low-value / layoff issue with tech comm is to focus on strategic projects, limit your scope, and be more visible with the documentation you're creating. (Note: This post is divided up into six parts — see the navigation in the left sidebar or use the embedded menus.)
Part V: On being strategic, interpersonal, and sponsored
Darnell Clarke explains several reasons why employees find themselves on a layoff list. Some of the reasons include not being strategic, not being interpersonal (staying in the shadows), and not having a sponsor. (Note: This post is divided up into six parts — see the navigation in the left sidebar or use the embedded menus.)