My summer internship as a Technical Writer at Adina is almost over. The most interesting bit of education was understanding the importance of comprehensive planning and systematic communication in a documentation project. The work requires a lot of independence, but each project member must know the overall project status and what the other team members are working on. Communication is much easier with adequate attention at the planning phase.
The difficult part about this job is to ‘kill your darlings’ during a documentation project. The ready deliverable rarely looks like the first versions. Each customer has their unique needs and visions, and fulfilling their wishes requires flexibility. The writer must be able to steer away from familiar paths to create something fresh. Working in the field is very good for growth as a writer.
During my internship I have also learned to read documentation, such as user manuals, critically. I have been much more aware of the documentation accompanying new products I have bought, and usually I try to think how I would have written the user manuals. Very often you can instantly see whether the company has allocated enough time and resources for creating the documentation. The contents may be illogical, the typography impractical, and the graphics unclear, for example. The end user might not pay much attention to a good user manual if they reach their goals with minimal effort. A bad user manual, however, will surely grab the end user’s attention.
A successful documentation project requires plenty of expertise on different aspects of documentation. A good Technical Writer is skilled as a language user, an information presenter, and a communicator, and a wide educational background and work experience from diverse fields certainly helps.