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The other risk is that you’ll lose your sense of urgency. And that’s a big part of what makes a good worker. You should be very strict about managing your commitments. This requires discipline, because sometimes it seems you’re only one that cares, but you have to do it.
One thing you should be aware of though, is that your average tech-writer in software spends only about 50% of his or her time writing. The rest of your time is spent planning, problem solving, fixing your computer, researching, interviewing programmers, writing work pracs…
I always found it was a good balance, though.
It was when I started managing teams that bottom really fell out. Then percentage dropped to about 10-20%. There were times when I’d go months without writing any help at all. That can be very frustrating, especially if you don’t particularly like managing.
Now managing tech-writers in software is an interesting thing. As with most technology management positions, you kinda fall into it, because you’re most senior/experienced person in company. Unfortunately, that doesn’t qualify you to be a manager. Software companies are renowned for dumping people into management roles without any real training or support.
I don’t really have any advice for you here. If it’s gonna happen, it’ll happen. Just be aware of it, and know that if you fall into a management role, it’s gonna be difficult. (That’s not to say that it can’t be rewarding though…)
The ironic thing is that most difficult aspect of it is that your staff are screaming at you to change system. “The programmers don’t answer our questions!” “None of my work has been reviewed for last 2 months!” “The project manager just told me to forget about quality!”
Unfortunately, inexperienced tech-writer is often naďve enough to think they can change system. Once you become a manager, you know you can’t. Hold on a minute… Maybe apathy is what qualifies you to be a manager… Hmmmm.
In any case, my advice is not to push too hard. You’ll make life hard for your manager, and give yourself a bad reputation. Recognise you’re a necessary evil, and work within those constraints.
Tech-writing can be a lot of fun. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s not creative. Trying to think of a way to describe what goes in Name field without just saying “Enter name” is a real mind-boggler!
* Glenn Murray is an advertising copywriter and heads copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com for further details or more FREE articles.