Penny Orwick and I completed a series of posts for Steyer Associates on peer reviews for technical documentation.
A point we both made in our example peer reviews was that the original draft content wasn’t ready for review, much less for publication. To wrap up our series, Penny suggested a checklist.
Today’s Ready for Review? A Checklist provides the basics, plus some cautionary notes about what you risk losing if you send poor docs for tech review:
- Discrediting yourself with your technical experts
- Discrediting yourself with your peers
Typically I link to my tech-communications blog topic with a parallel for fiction writers. But it seems like there are a lot of models out there. So this time I’ll just link again to my Checklist for Writer/Editor Collaborations.
Other topics in our “peer review tips” collection:
My Managing Up post for Steyer Associates this month — You Get What You Measure — touches on the difficulty with most metrics for productivity and quality in technical writing. I offer ideas for how to create personal measures to increase your satisfaction as a writer, editor, or other working in the content publishing chain.
Making progress on quality goals, working toward expertise—I believe these are fundamentals for personal ambition.
Sure feels like metrics for corporate tech-comms consistently undermines those personal metrics these days, doesn’t it?
What can we do, oh noble content providers, but go forth and meet our daily word count?
My related post on metrics and productivity in fiction writing is here.
I have a new Managing Up post up for Steyer Associates that reflects on editor/writer relations in technical communications: Writer vs. Editor = Spy vs. Spy?
This time, I’m emphasizing what a manager wants to see—and yes, I’m brutal:
- Tech Writer: Your Job #1 is to please the Subject-Matter Experts who own the technology you’re writing about (or who own the business strategy) by preparing correct, clear content. Job #2 is to follow the style guide. If you’re worried about the editor marring your personal voice and style preferences, you aren’t doing your job.
- Tech Editor: Your job is to drive the corporate voice, enforce consistency in terminology and presentation, complete the legal edits, and serve as first, best reader to ensure clarity.
Read on for my specific guidelines in relation to the basic rules of collaboration: no fighting, no biting.
…and if you missed it, earlier notes on fiction writer vs. editor relations:
Is that Blood on My Manuscript? Or Are You Just Happy to Ream Me?
My post for tech-communications professionals is up today at Steyer Associates web site: Procrastinating … or Preplanning?
I propose in that piece that for professional communicators, most “procrastination” is your brain begging for more preplanning time… though that begs the question:
How is “preplanning” different from regular old planning?
It’s a question of being ready to commit.
I’ve long posited that for any tech-writing project, there’s probably 25 solutions, and you want to concentrate only on the best 3 — then pick one and commit to action.
However, that’s not always so straightforward, whether for tech-writing, fiction, or other projects. Brenda Ueland, in If You Want to Write, presents critical ideas in her chapter, “The Imagination Works Slowly and Quietly.”
Following the “slow imagination” concept, preplanning is: Continue reading →
My “Managing Up” post on Steyer.net is up today.
The focus is on tips for contract technical communications professionals … though I think it applies for any team where you might find yourself working in strange circumstances.
I’m grateful for early review comments from past team members, who reminded me of some of our more unusual experiences, plus great ideas for how to keep your head down and survive.
I think I’ll tag this as “technology strategy” — after all, isn’t coping with organizational insanity part of any thoughtful tech-strategy plan?
My monthly guest post for Steyer Associates is up: 4 Rules of Thumb for Weekly Reports
This series offers insight into managers’ thinking for technical communications professionals who work as contractors — though most of the info also applies for permanent workers. Continue reading →
I’m offering advice from a manager’s viewpoint for contract technical writers, appearing as a guest blogger for Steyer Associates on the last Thursday of every month. This first post ruminates on my novice experience upon hearing “Your only job is to make me look good.” Two truths: (1) a manager really said that; and (2) I was a novice once.
Check it out: “Getting Started: Managing Up” at Steyer.net
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