5 ways teams can recover from a failed or stalled writing project

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It’s never fun watching a technical documentation, training development, or other writing projects get off to a false start or just downright fail. It can be a real morale blow and expose the writer(s) and their team to criticism from stakeholders. However, failures do happen, and it is best to do what you can to recover from quickly.

Writing projects can fail or stall for a myriad of reasons including poor planning, course changes in the project plan, and other risks that may or not be accounted for in the overall project plan.

Here are five ways to get past a failed or stalled writing project:

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6 ways to sabotage your technical documentation

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Every job hunt and even unsolicited discussions with recruiters during the past few years brought me more tales of organizations continuing to have issues producing and maintaining technical documentation. It is not isolated in one sector, and I keep hearing the same problems repeatedly. This has been a real disappointment for me over the years I was a contract technical writer and now that I have a staff technical writer job.
 
Developing technical documentation isn’t fun. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be such an afterthought. Things aren’t made any easier with a technical writing profession that is fragmented on the actual role of the technical writer.
 
Here are some ways organizations sabotage their technical documentation:
 

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A few words about Microsoft Word and Track Changes

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One of the most useful – yet potentially embarrassing – features of Microsoft Word is Track Changes. Using the Track Changes feature lets you electronically markup your Word documents with edits, additions, and revisions. Think of it as an electronic red pen so to speak.

The potential embarrassment of the feature comes in when you don’t accept the Track Changes. Comments, edits, and revisions not fit for public consumption can leak out. Even if none of the comments are critical, it is just plain sloppy to have a recipient open up a document that still contains markups.

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Part-time freelancing: An alternative perspective

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So much is written about the part-time writer or freelancer being the one who complicates part-time working arrangements – they do this, they do that, part-time freelancing during your off hours is going to melt your brain and turn you into a hermit and so forth. These articles only tell half the story and actually do a disservice to writers and potential clients.

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3 ways I use FoldingText

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One of my favorite Mac applications is FoldingText from HogsBay Software. It’s a text editor with outline formatting you can fold and unfold to see text. While I use Microsoft Word on the Mac or PC for my hardcore writing, my composing process often relies on other tools for outlining and planning my articles and posts. Historically, I’ve only used text editors when I am coding HTML or hacking at JavaScript until I found FoldingText.

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A remote worker’s guide to technical document reviews

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Even in the day of mobile devices and Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs), organizations can’t escape the need to review business and technical documents for accuracy, completeness, and message. I’ve been a student of technical document reviews, for much of my career. In fact, I was a computer book technical reviewer during the great computer book over-publishing of the nineties.

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5 things about task lists

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Over the years, I’ve thought to task lists (in particular my own) because I was managing lots of small projects like articles and blog posts. Task lists kept me on track to meet multiple deadlines every week. On top of that, I’ve written about productivity apps like task list apps forTechRepublic and the now defunct WebWorkerDaily.

Like many people out there, I try to refine my workflow and tools so I can be as productive as possible and create replicable processes that help mitigate errors and improve the quality of my work.

  1. The road to productivity is paved with discarded iOS task management apps.
  2. Simplicity is in the eye of the beholder.
  3. Productivity is in the eye of the beholder.
  4. Task lists once personal are now becoming social with platforms like Asana.
  5. Some people are better organized electronically than in hard copy, the reverse is also true.

How do task lists impact your productivity?

Image by Alejandro Escamilla via Unsplash.com