TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for October 12, 2012

This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor ComponentOne & their Doc-To-Help Help Authoring Tool |

Returning to the daily grind after an energizing and thought-provoking event like the LavaCon Conference is challenging (made more so by jet lag). Articles still need to be written, deadlines scheduled, copy proofed, and graphics refined.  Having a few moments to decompress and digest great quantities of information and ideas is critical to ensuring you can actually do something with all the new stuff you’ve learned.

It’s one of the reasons why we like presenting summaries of the LavaCon sessions after the conference is over.  Many technical communication professionals got to take advantage of being in Portland and meeting with colleagues and thought leaders face-to-face.  So many more could not.  So over the next couple of weeks, you’ll see a full panoply of LavaCon, including session summaries, a Pinterest board and a couple of in-depth interviews. that can help you frame and reframe the strategy and tactics you need to reach your audiences with relevant and useful knowledge that improves their experience with your product or service.

We get to mix that up with some new perspectives and some very interesting answers to the question “Is Tech Comm Art?”  And we hope you’re working on your submission to our, second annual Tech Writer Halloween Horror Stories extravaganza.  So even if you don’t believe the tech comm is creative, you can switch hats and author modes for a bit to flex your mental muscles a bit, and be entertained in the process. On the off-chance that you might be experiencing the dreaded writer’s block, Geoff Hart’s Overcoming Writer’s Block Part 1 and Part 2 could be just the ticket.

Have a great weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

  Tech Writer This Week for October 11, 2012

Like chilly Autumn rains, technical communication commentary and observation keep pouring in. We’ve scoured the web to bring timely, informative and thought-provoking commentary and information from the best bloggers in technical communication, content strategy and user experience. Mark Baker, Tom Johnson, Andrew Brooke, Steve Goldberg and Jamie Gillenwater have been keeping busy in tech comm, and a host of UX and CS bloggers offer additional goodness all in one spot.

  Writer’s Block: Different Causes Have Different Solutions – Part 2

Practicalities are obstacles you can solve by choosing an appropriate strategy and then gritting your teeth and doing the necessary work. Because they aren’t psychological barriers, they’re much easier to get past because all you need to do is force yourself to follow the appropriate steps, possibly with help from friends and colleagues. You don’t always need your muse to be able to write: some aspects of writing, such as developing a timeline or plot outline, are fairly mechanical. Since you’re the only one who will see them, they don’t have to be perfect.

  Writer’s Block: Different Causes Have Different Solutions – Part 1

Writing should be exciting and pleasurable, and most of the time it is. But if you’re a dedicated professional who earns your living from writing, writing is also a job, and even the most exciting job sometimes grows boring or frustrating or stressful. When that happens, you may find yourself “blocked”: unable to write, and not sure why. That’s particularly true for technical communicators like me, who also enjoy writing fiction in those rare free moments between paying work.

  TechWhirl wants your scariest story for Tech Writer Halloween Horror Stories — 2012

We love Halloween here at TechWhirl. Bring on the ghouls, goblins and management consultants.  Their knives, torches and three-hour working “meetings” mean nothing to us. Whether it’s a Google algorithm change or a deadline from hell, we have our big kid Great Pumpkin Underoos, our trusty Webster’s Dictionary and our phasers set to stun so bring it on! Don’t cross us or we’ll change the cover of that TPS report.

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