Hold That Thought!

What not to say to a technical writer

By Steve Arrants

If I had the time, I’d write it myself!

Go ahead. And we’ll be here to edit and rewrite it to corporate standards. There is more than opening Word. What we do is called writing, not typing.

I gave it to my son to review. He’s a student at the Haas School in Berkeley, you know.

I’m sure Junior is learning many important things in business school. But does he know how to write and edit? Is he even familiar with the product and project plan? Is he familiar with our style guide and the documentation plan? Has he heard of the serial comma?

Drop off a printed copy, and I’ll write my comments on it and let you know when to pick it up.

Put the gel pen down! It’s the 21st century. We use Acrobat shared reviews so everyone involved can see comments and questions. This helps move the project along. It also makes tracking any changes we made to the source simple.

The doc is fine if you don’t hear from me.

But I do need to hear from you. Your input is important. All of us want to produce a useful and correct document. Your statement isn’t just disrespectful to me. It also disrespects the customer. If you need more time, ask. If you want help with the review, ask. Please don’t blow us off.


Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash.

Tags: tech writing
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