Diversify or die

I’ve been a tech writer since 2004. In that time, my sole focus has been producing quality docs for technical and non-technical end-users. Things like online help, training guides, standard operating procedures and disaster recovery plans.

For most of the past ten years, I’ve been all about help for non-technical users of software. These are the folks who read the help only when they absolutely have no other choice. Then, when they discover the wealth of information therein, they complain about how it should have this, or should be that.

So, I spend my days wrangling thousands of content objects in a database, lovingly crafting them, only to publish them out to an audience of readers who don’t always appreciate the effort.

Lately, I’ve been grappling with the dilemma: “Am I over writing end-user help?” Have I finally reached the point where I need to write something different, for a completely new audience, and about new technologies?

There is a big part of me that still enjoys the challenge of making the tedious sound fun. Any tech writer whose grim task is to write a procedure about how to use some awful, poorly-designed software feature deserves an award. God knows, I have written my fair share. And at times, I have looked upon my work in awe. Am I really that talented? Yes. Yes I am.

My plan to diversify my skill set has been in motion since early 2020. When I discovered REST APIs, I went all heart eyes over them. I felt that they were the technology I wanted to document. So, I spent months studying and reading and practising how to document them. Somewhere along the way, the scope broadened. The entire developer docs universe suddenly became known to me and I found myself wondering what I had been doing my whole damn life.

The next challenge is to get some practise documenting some actual REST APIs. This journey will be documented in full in this blog, sons and daughters. So, sit back and wait with bated breath for my next post.

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