Archive for 'technical documentation'

Work

My technical documentation experience has covered a wide variety of both offline and online disciplines for a wide range of engineering and financial companies. The table below details the companies I have worked for.

 

Employed as a Technical Author to produce a wide range of technical publications for electro-mechanical training aids and computer controlled flight simulators for the Tornado, HS125 and PC9 aircraft. Also employed to produce aircrew technical publications.
bnp paribas Employed within the IT Department as a Technical Author with the responsibility to update/create/write all the company’s IT procedures required for an external audit of the Channel Islands Territory IT department.
equity trust Employed within the IT Department as a Technical Author. My responsibilities were to create/write the company’s IT Infrastructure procedures and also the financial training/user procedures for their ViewPoint Content Management System (CMS).
translation services Employed as a Project Manager with responsibility for several of the company’s major clients. Duties involved liasing with the relevant companies Customer Support and Marketing departments and senior management to ensure that their respective publications were produced to the high standards and to the critical deadlines and budgets that the companies demanded.
technical writing Employed as a Senior Technical Author to write User Guides for the company’s Unix platform telecommunications intelligent network products.
Employed within the Training Department as the company’s Technical Author with the overall responsibility to create/write the company’s style guide and templates for the company’s internal/external training and customer facing documentation for their HUNTER II financial fraud software.
financial fraud Employed within the Product Development Department as a Technical Author with the responsibility to create/write the company’s internal/external training and customer facing documentation for their financial fraud software.
technical documentation Employed as a Documentation Consultant to create and implement a company style guide for their seismic data technical documentation. The style guide and documentation templates were to be used across the companies worldwide Intranet therefore they had to be interactive with all the systems the company used.
financial services Employed as a Technical Writer/Web Administrator within the Customer Services Department to maintain the company’s internal/external Knowledge Base, Customer Services websites and Online Support. Also worked as a Technical Writer to write/update the company’s documentation for their SWIFTAlliance financial telecommunications software.
technical writing Employed as a Documentation Consultant/Support Engineer within the Service Development Department to create a Technical Documentation Standard and Style Guide for the company’s European Database and Networking applications.

Services

Do you need the services of a technical documentation professional that will endeavour to lower your technical writing costs, and increase your productivity?

Do you need a technical communications expert to create the technical documentation for your products or services, audience specific user-friendly manuals, online help, or the content, design and upkeep of your website or intranet?

Do your technical publications need to be structured correctly to allow them to provide effective communication?

Is your documentation problem distracting you from other areas of your business?

Are you desperate to create high quality documentation for your software and associated products, but you don’t have either the staff or time to create the documentation you need for your business?

Does your technical documentation convey the right marketing image your company needs?

Does your existing documentation need a complete re-write or just a brief review and edit?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then I can help you.

technical writingI invite you to take advantage of my 25 years experience in technical communications and I believe we can work together to complete any project you have, not only on time, but within budget. I can offer you high value for your money and in return you will receive documentation of the highest quality and reliability.

I treat every job with the same amount of determination and dedication irrespective of how small. By giving me the opportunity to take charge of your documentation issues will help you to free-up your staff for more critical issues.

I fully appreciate that in the present financial climate it is not cost effective for a lot of companies to employer an in house technical writer. However, I am available to help you overcome this problem. Throughout my technical communication career I have single-handedly project managed large documentation assignments. This experience will allow me to develop your documentation to a standard that will enhance your company’s profile within your specific field.

The technical writer must be brought into a project early enough so that they can analyze the user needs in order to determine the type of deliverable required. Technical writers can contribute significantly due to their user-oriented perspective.

My experience as technical writer for some years has made me understand and appreciate the requirement for tight deadlines, tighter budgets, and heavy workloads. I have continually updated my technical writing skills to ensure that every project I am involved in gets done in the correct manner and on time.

If you let me take care of your technical documentation needs, then you can concentrate on what you do best, running your business.

Here are some of the services I can offer:

Document Standardisation, Design and Development

If your company needs help creating your technical documentation that can help your users to begin using your products or services right away, then I can help you create comprehensive documentation that will allow the intended audience to easily understand your products or services.

Comprehensive user documentation will effectively supplement the company’s marketing brochures and in turn enhance your company’s products or services presence in your field.

I can help you create user-friendly and reliable technical documentation that can set a professional benchmark and promote your organisations image. Also, I can help you with designing a better approach to structuring the writing standards for your company that will ensure that the technical content is consistent and appropriate for your products or services. Here are some of the types of documentation I have produced:

  • User Guides
  • Maintenance Manuals
  • Operating Manuals
  • Training Manuals
  • Troubleshooting Manuals
  • IT Internet Security Procedures
  • Financial Audit Procedures
  • Validation Procedures
  • Style Guides and Templates
  • Administration Guides
  • Installation Instructions
  • Procedural Documentation
  • Release Notes, and much more…

Operating Systems, Platforms and Software

I have written documentation for the following operating systems, platforms and software:

  • Windows NT, UNIX, SunOS, AIX and Windows 2000/2003,
  • XML source documents, Oracle databases and MS .Net infrastructure,
  • Compaq AlphaServer across a Unix Tru64, Oracle and SAP infrastructure
  • Storage Area Network (SAN) configurations.

Web Site Layout and Content

The written word is a powerful source of marketing. Good content about any product or service that is written on the Internet on the Internet is by far the best marketing tool a company can have. These days the Internet is fast becoming the major place that customers will get their first impressions of a company’s products or services.

The content on a company’s web site needs to be highest quality to draw the visitor’s attention to your products or services and in turn that content needs to impel the customer to take action.

I can provide you with clear and concise content that will help turn your company’s web site visitors into customers. I have an in-depth knowledge and experience of managing and maintaining corporate web sites and intranets.

  • Web site Design and Content Development
  • Intranet Design and Content Development
  • Content Strategy Plans

Document Management

Depending on the amount of technical documentation you have there is every possibility that you will need some form of content management system to be able to keep control of the documentation updates and storage.

I’ll work with you to get every detail related to your documentation and categorise and file each piece of documentation into a structured file system within a content management system.

Online Help

Online help plays a major part in how a customer rates not only your company’s web site but your products or services as well. There is nothing more frustrating to a user when they cannot find the information they are looking for. It is a major turn off for a lot of web users.

I can help you create accurate and useful online help for your product by determining how the end user will use your product, include information to answer their questions at an appropriate level of detail, and make the information easily accessible. Help systems like:

  • Online Help and Training Tutorials
  • HTML Help
  • WebHelp (cross browser web-based help)
  • WinHelp

Proofreading and Editing

Technical proofreading and editing is not just a question of checking for misspelled words and proper comma use. It is much more than that. It is a quality control of the complete document.

Throughout my technical communications career it has been my responsibility to ensure that I perform a meticulously thorough proofreading and editorial check on the documentation. This makes sure that the document is not only correct, but also functional for the intended readers.

Marketing

Great sales and marketing materials don’t just sell your product or services but they also establish a trust and credibility in the way that people value your company. A best way to portray this is to ensure that the marketing artwork and content complement each other in the promotion of your company’s products or services. The marketing services include:

  • Brochures and E-mail Campaigns
  • Marketing Presentations
  • Proposals and Newsletters
  • Product Description

Publishing and Content Management Software

Proficient with the following publishing tools: MS Software Suite, Adobe FrameMaker SGML, RoboHelp, Adobe Photoshop, Visio, Dreamweaver, SnagIt and Adobe Acrobat.

Proficient with using the following content and document management systems: Livelink, Peoplesoft, Sharepoint and ViewPoint.

I am ready to provide you with all my technical communications experience and knowledge and prove that the multiple skills that I have acquired will benefit you and your business. I look forward to working with you in the future.

The Origins of Simplified English

Any technical author who has experience in the preparation of technical documentation will appreciate the problems that arise when trying to select the right words. Do you start, commence, begin, or initiate an action? Not a problem to a reader whose mother tongue is English, but to the rest of the world it can be confusing to use more than one word for the same meaning.

Throughout the centuries there have been numerous proposals to reform the English language. Even in the United States the Simplified Spelling Board was set up to try to come to terms with a much simpler form of English. Mr Al Morin the former chairman of the American Simplified English committee said:

“The problems of publishing technical information are probably more diverse than those of any other publishing process. Not only is the information itself expanding at a tremendous rate, but it can come from diverse sources, such as the engineer who creates the product to the people who manufacture, inspect, service, and use it. All these people write and they all write to convey, often complex, information. The basic purpose of all writing is to get a message across to the reader: it must convey exact meaning. To serve this purpose well, it must be capable of being easily read and easily understood.”

More often than not, writing does get the intended message across but there are occasions when even the largest companies can fail.

simplified englishThe aerospace industry is one industry where the need for a standardisation of language was necessary. As English has been the official language of aviation since 1948, and since then many technical authors and translators, of many nationalities, have been busy either composing text in English or translating it into English. Consequently, all these people worked without any form of common standard of a form of controlled English that they could use based around a specific technical dictionary.

Therefore with this in mind, the major airlines within the aerospace industry, identified the need for a clear communication of complex maintenance data with some form of technical English.

In the late 1970’s the Association of European Airlines (AEA) asked the European Aviation Industry Association – Association Europeenne des Constructeurs de Materiel Aerospatial (AECMA) to apply a form of basic English to future documentation.

As a result the AECMA documentation working group was set up. The working group researched all the procedural text within the existing manuals and came up with its initial suggestions for improvement. The initial suggestions had highlighted the need to rationalise the number of verbs that were originally used. A list of recommended verbs and a draft set of writing rules were published in 1983. These rules give the guide-lines for the construction of sentences, paragraphs and the use of punctuation. In 1984 similar exercises took place to select nouns, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions.

When the study group had completed their research the AECMA simplified English version became a standard for the aerospace industry to use for all their technical documentation.

Simplified English had an earlier predecessor in the form of the limited word technical dictionary that was developed by McDonnell Douglas in 1979. The dictionary included 1,952 preferred words from the McDonnell Douglas technical manuals.

Prior to McDonnell Douglas the Caterpillar Tractor Company realised in 1971 that they had been struggling with the problems of communicating technical information to their non-English speaking distributors and customers. The company at the time had more than 20,000 publications that needed to be understood by people speaking a lot of different languages. Caterpillar Fundamental English, which was again a limited vocabulary was introduced. Caterpillar evaluated and rejected Basic English and Esperanto, because of their limited technical vocabularies, before deciding to develop Fundamental English.

Can a Person Who Has No Technical Writing Experience Become a Technical Writer?

People who do not have hardly any technical writing experience should not be discarded out of hand. There is every possibility that they could become proficient technical writers if they are given the opportunity. They should not be discouraged from taking up technical writing if they have a strong interest in writing and produce examples of their previous work.

For instance, if the person has got high grades for their dissertations/essays at college or they have had letters published in magazines or newspapers then they clearly understand how to organize their ideas and put them into words. This type of person should not be discouraged from a technical writing career just because they have no experience.

technical writingIt is not a question of whether the person can write that is usually the problem but if they know how to use the publishing software that the company uses to produce their technical documentation. You tend to find that companies like to have their newly employed technical writer to “hit the ground running” from day one. They don’t what to spend too much time letting the new employee play around with the software for any length of time before they start to produce the documentation.

To alleviate this problem the prospective technical writer must do their research on the company first to find out what publishing software the company use. Then they need to read up on the software and get to understand how it works because you can guarantee that questions will be asked about the software at the interview stage.

However, these days the majority of companies use well-designed templates and they usually have a senior technical writer who can oversee and supervise the new technical writer for the first couple of several weeks. This type of scenario makes the argument of not employing an inexperienced technical writer pointless.

There are a multitude of technical writing courses available on the internet that will help anybody gain the knowledge they need to help them get that first job as a technical writer.

Unskilled technical writers tend to find interviews intimidating and nerve racking because they don’t know what to expect. That is why they must do their research on the company. What the company is about, what it produces, and more specifically how they produce their technical documentation. Armed with as much information as possible about the company will go a long way in helping the inexperienced technical gain employment.

Getting Technical Documentation Reviewed on Time

Having technical reviews completed for technical documentation has become considerably difficult. Throughout my years as a technical writer and, being mainly based at various organizations and using different methods of reviewing  technical documentation, the problem of having technical reviews performed by SMEs is just the same wherever it was.

Theoretically the best way to get your documents examined is always to distribute it to a list of suitable people for review. It is always a good idea to ask for the comments back by a specific date.

Using this method it is more than likely that you are sure to get nothing or next to nothing back, even if you have been chasing after them with email after email and phone call after phone call. So when you do get a response they are usually full of questions or question marks, or they have been editing the grammar and not even bothering with the technical content.

technical documentationAnother choice is always to call a meeting of all the interested parties. People love meetings and some can spend all day long every single day moving from one meeting to another because it adds the atmosphere of self importance. You will probably notice that the people who have not supplied any written feedback for the review demands are the first ones to accept the invitation to a meeting.

You have to realise that just because you have all the major players involved in the project actually sitting together around a table doesn’t mean that you are going to achieve instant results.

The majority of SMEs hardly ever prepare for a review meeting, you are lucky if they ever read the technical documentation, let alone be prepared for the meeting. They have a tendency to read through the document whilst in the meeting and throw out their comments as and when they have any. This cuts down their time reviewing the document to the amount time the meeting lasts instead of spending a lot longer and giving the technical documentation a thorough review. By doing this type of review the SME is not doing justice to the amount of work you will have put in to create the documentation.

Even if the SME does read through the documentation before the meeting you will find it very difficult to review a large document if the meeting is only scheduled for an hour. You tend to find that if the technical documentation is on the large size and will need several meetings to review then the SME’s enthusiasm will start to wane and they will start to miss meetings.

In my experience it is better to have a technical review of the documentation first and then set up a review meeting. Send the documentation to the SME first to carry out a paper review and get them to send back their comments. Plus also make them aware that a review meeting is being scheduled for the following week. When you receive the comments back from the SME compile them and send them out to with a meeting invitation to the relevant people.

By doing it this way you can conduct the meeting with the knowledge of knowing that a lot of the issues have already been resolved. It will only leave any new queries to be taken care of and any outstanding queries can be allocated to the relevant people as action points. Also the SME will be able to dedicate their time to ensuring that all their comments are auctioned on and when the technical documentation is updated it will be correct and ready for distribution.

The Principles of Technical Writing

Well-written and accurate documentation plays a major role in any company’s customer support strategy because it helps to reduce support costs. Technical writing plays a big part in the support equation.

Technical writing is much more than just technical jargon, and structured, concise instructions. As the intended audience for the technical writing could be for both technical and not-technical people it must to convey its message so that both sets of people understand it.

technical writingThe main purpose of a technical writer when approaching a new technical writing project is to ensure that they maintain focused on what they are writing about. The information they are producing has to be organized and structured within the laid down style that is appropriate for the intended audience. By sticking to the basic principles of technical writing the technical writer is ensuring that the documentation is clearly understood by the reader.

The following is the six basic principles of technical writing that a technical writer has to take in to consideration.

Content

There are five basic questions a technical writer has to ask themselves when starting a new project – who, why, what, how and when. Answering these questions will allow the technical writer to be able to develop the content for any type of technical documentation. For example, let’s say the technical writer has to create a user guide for a new video recorder. Before creating the user guide, they will have to plan the content of the user guide by applying following key questions to the situation:

  1. Who will read the user guide?
  2. Why do need to create the user guide?
  3. What is this user guide going to offer its intended audience?
  4. How is the user guide going to be delivered?
  5. When does the user guide have to be ready (publishing date)?

The audience and purpose of the documentation

Before beginning any new writing project, the technical writer has to analyze the intended audience and identify the purpose for the document. The technical writer will need to ask the following questions about the audience:

  1. Who will read the documentation?
  2. What are their biases?
  3. What responsibilities does the technical writer have when communicating the information to the audience?

With regard to the purpose of the documentation, technical writer will need to know what the documentation will accomplish and also what should it do.

Styleguide

Technical writers will more than likely use a company styleguide (if there is one) to ensure that their documentation has a structured and organized pattern so that it gives consistency to their writing. A styleguide will provide the document with continuity so that the audience can comprehend the information. For example, technical writers need to organise their ideas in a specific chronological format because without a specific layout and structure to the documentation it will be very confusing for the reader to understand.

Writing Style

Technical writers will need to change their writing style depending on the audience and situation they are writing about. If they are writing technical documentation then it needs to be formal and devoid of any emotion as you get with creative writing. Whereas, if say they were an email to one of the senior managers involved in the project then their approach would more casual than formal.

Accessing the information

Accessibility applies to the ease at which the intended audience can gain access to the information they need from the technical documentation. A technical document must at least contain a table of contents, headers and footers, list of illustrations/tables, page numbers, etc.

Also a technical document must adhere to a specific heading and sub heading structure to break down the information into relevant areas that the reader can access easily.

Grammar

A technical writer must adhere to all the rules of conventional grammar. Also it is the technical writer’s responsibility to proofread and edit their documentation to detect and correct any errors in the writing, graphics, typography and layout.

In summarising, a technical writer must ensure that they incorporate the above mentioned principles into their everyday writing style. This will go a long to make them not only a better writer but their technical documentation will be appreciated by both their peers and readers alike.

Technical Writing Is Meant to Convey a Technical Idea

There are plenty of areas that need technical writing. It is a type of writing that describes the appropriate technology along with other concepts which are associated with it. It may be created having a wide selection of viewers at heart. It may be as specialized as detailing how you can repair your car generator for automotive technicians or even describing the way to look at the engine oil for somebody that does not understand the location of the dipstick. The purpose of technical writing is always to express that information and facts to ensure the audience can understand what it is.

Before anybody begins the technical writing task they have to understand what the prospective readership will be as well as exactly what the objective of the actual writing will be. Dependent upon as to who the content is good for then the procedure may begin by having a meeting with the individual authorizing the actual task. This is often to ensure the technical writer can understand what the overall task is going to entail.

technical writingWithout having that information along with comprehending the technical writing task the technical writer won’t be able to convey the right information to the actual target audience. It might have incorrect details within it.

A fundamental element of virtually any technical writing will be the subject matter expert (SME). The technical writer is not always the actual SME, plus it very feasible that they do not actually have the actual specialized understanding of the product or service to create their particular documentation. The SME can provide just about all the facts they require as well as solve virtually any related queries.

As an example the technical writer may not know what a piston is or even what the compression setting is, so they will be able go to the chief technician and inquire precisely how these things function. This will ensure that the technical writer can finish the task using the correct details.

Because the objective of technical writing is always to promote the correct information then talking with an SME could possibly be the key to the actual task. The majority of SMEs are extremely very helpful in aiding the technical writer simply because they realize it is their own facts the technical writer is actually counting on to create the actual documents.

The individual that does the actual technical writing will be revealing details for the audience to ensure they will completely understand what are the service or product will be and the way to utilize them correctly. The particular task by itself could be tailored for a big or small target audience, based on exactly what the technical documentation is being produced for.

The technical writer must ensure that that they realize whom the actual technical documentation is designed for and exactly what the information they’re writing will be and just how the actual expected target audience is actually likely to utilize it. Technical writing can be used for various areas with various objectives.

Technical Writing Courses

With the advances that technology has made and the way companies, industries, have taken to these advances has brought about the increased requirement for good technical communications.

A spin off from this technological revolution has been the need for good quality technical writers that are educated to standards required by the technical communications industry. This requirement has brought about the development of technical writing courses.

There is an ever increasing amount of technology today that is being used by a lot of people who do not know how to use it (i.e. DVD players, mobile phones, etc). That is why technical writers play such a vital role in conveying the complex technical information and instructions needed for this new technology to the people who need it the most.

If you can research information and are capable of translating complex technical information into simple information that people with less understanding than you are able to understand, then you have the ability to become a good technical writer.

technical writing coursesJust having the ability to write is not enough you need to combine this ability with the expertise you require to be a technical writer. This expertise is something you gain from both technical knowledge of the products involved plus a course in technical writing.

As a technical writer your job tends to be writing maintenance manuals, operating instructions, user guides etc, for a wide range of products or services. These products and services can cover from the TV you have at home, the car you drive or even the aeroplane you take to go on holiday. The range is vast and basically can be described as any form of technology that requires explaining in its simplest form will require a technical writer to communicate that information to the end user.

If you want to become a successful technical writer then you will need to evaluate what field you want to specialise in and try to find a suitable technical writing course that meets your needs.

The majority of people have come in contact with some form of technical documentation that does not give us the information we require, or it doesn’t clearly explain some procedure that we must understand.

I think the majority of people get a little bit frustrated when they come across poorly organised or poorly written documentation that is supposed to convey information that we need to understand. That is why there is an ever increasing demand for graduates of technical writing courses that can produce good technical documentation.

If you are already an excellent communicator, technical writing training gives you the polish you need to turn you into a great technical communicator.

There are an abundance of technical writing courses to be found on the internet. Plus the laptop computer has become an unequalled writing tool to use to pursue a technical writing course. Just like the internet has provided an excellent venue and communication means by which an online education in technical writing can be achieved.

The most effective technical writing training can be found with education establishments that have accredited online programs. Effectively students can earn college levels in technical writing that will give them a great base for a career as a technical writer.

Any form of technical writing training also puts you at the front of the queue when it comes to applying for the best jobs, well above candidates who haven’t devoted any time or effort to this kind of written communication.

If you are thinking of a career in technical writing or are already employed in the profession, then it is worth looking into what type of online technical writing courses are available.

Is Technical Writing Boring?

A lot of people believe technical writing is boring. Having spent almost 25 years in the profession I can honestly say that description of technical writing is so far from the truth it beggars belief. In fact I have found it to be a very challenging and stimulating career.

But, I have to admit I do like technical communications and especially technical writing because I take great pleasure in writing and organizing technical information in ways that the intended audience can easily understand and use.

I believe that technical documentation that is well written and conveys the message to the intended audience is a great asset for any company’s marketing department.

OK, so let’s see if technical writing is actually ‘boring’…

I suppose in some cases technical writing can be classed as boring. Why is that then? Well, because of the nature of the beast, technical writing needs to convey a consistent and precise form of communication. There should not be any discrepancies in the style and content of the information.

technical writingYou have to remember that the aim of technical communications is not to be entertaining or emotional. That form of writing falls under the category of creative writing.

If you have taken any creative writing courses, then one of the first things you have to master is the variety of expression. Fiction and emotional engagement requires a wide variety of words, metaphors, and phrasing to keep the reader’s interest alive and to help them to visualize the human aspect of the writing.

But technical writing is not like creative writing in any way, shape or form. Because the essence of creative writing is that the content is inconsistent and contains diverse expressions that are woven into the structure of the writing.

This type of writing can create all kinds of problems for a technical document. A technical document needs to be consistent and something that the end user can rely on. There we have it, yes technical writing could be classed as ‘boring’ because it is reliable to a fault. There again that is what technical writing is all about.

For a technical writer to achieve their goal they need to ensure that the technical writing is disciplined and consistent throughout the whole document. For that consistency to prevail then, for example, if a certain component is called a cylindrical shaft, then it needs to have the description (cylindrical shaft) throughout the whole document. Consistency is the key in good technical writing.

I believe that the people who criticise technical writing for being “boring” confuse the goal of this form of writing with that of creative writing. It is an easy mistake to make because in one way I suppose technical writing is a form of creative writing but instead of feelings and emotion it contains technical information.

Well, I suppose to some degree I have to agree that technical writing can be boring but in the nicest way possible way. Technical writing serves the purpose it is intended for and so long as that is the case then who am I to disagree.

That’s my opinion and if others feel differently well who am I to pressure them into thinking otherwise.

Technical Writer – Don’t Take Criticism Personally

As a technical writer there is every chance that you will be criticised for the work you have done. Learning to deal with the criticism is the important part a technical writer has to understand. Once you come to terms with criticism and accept it with the professionalism you used to create the technical documentation and then use it to improve what you have written is the best thing you can do.

By learning to work with your critics is one of the best skills that a technical writer can possess because it will go a long way to helping your technical writing career flourish.

The majority of editors are exceptionally professional in their job and will provide the kind of changes and suggestions that will enhance your documentation. A good editor is one that will put the intended audience first and their only intention is to work hand-in-hand with the technical writer to create the best result possible.

technical writerAs the technical writer is the person who wrote the words that are being rightly criticised, you will need a fresh pair of eyes to review the document. The document is your creation and you can see nothing wrong with it, but, there is every possibility that because of your familiarity with the document you will miss the errors that the editor will pick up.

However, no two editors are the same. Some editors like to play the bad guy and dispense totally with any form of niceties. They prefer to tell it like it is even if it upsets the technical writer. All they are interested in is getting the job done right and do not care a hoot about the technical writer’s feelings.

The phrase, “don’ take it personally” is not very helpful for the technical writer to hear because it gives them the impression that they are being pacified and that they should just accept the criticism without being able to challenge the criticism.

This frequently used expression implies that anything the technical writer creates is just that and nothing else. Just because you created it doesn’t mean to say that it should have any emotionally hold over you. You have to distance yourself emotionally from what you have written and therefore allow yourself to accept any criticism of your work. Because your main aim is to get the job done as quickly and professionally as possible.

This sort of throw away remark is dangerous because it immediately it gives the impression that any resistance to criticism by the technical writer is just downright petulance and childishness.

With technical writing you tend to find that by overusing certain phrases gives the impression that the writer has of lack of imagination and their writing skills are poor. Therefore, when you hear the phrase, “don’t take it personally,” coming from an editor the conclusion is drawn that this type of remark comes from an editor whose editing skills leave a lot to be desired. The important thing for a technical writer is to not take the “don’t take it personally” line too seriously!

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