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Thanks for the suggestions on how to demonstrate the toils and tricks of
our often undervalued craft.
The replies fell into two broad categories:
-Writing something everyone knows how to do, such as tying a shoelace
and making a sandwich.
-Writing on more exotic topics, such as creating a group alias or
changing a car wiper blade.
There are inherent difficulties in using these demonstrations. First,
procedures requiring complex wordings (such as tying a shoe or building
a paper plane) require pictures, not words. This is supposed to be a
writing exercise. Second, with the kind of familiar processes easily
tested at a conference table (such as installing a paper clip or making
a sandwich), the readers' familiarity with the process gets in the way
of their reliance on a readable and accurate document.
The exercise I'm looking for is one which will demonstrate the
importance of making revisions. No matter how well you write it the
first time, there's going to be flaws. It can't be helped, even if the
product is as stable as granite. This is why our daddies taught us to
read the instructions first, before undertaking step one. A word out of
place can throw off everything. And unless you're working for a Sony or
Microsoft, there's going to be mistakes.
Is there some way we can briefly demonstrate this harsh reality of the
trade to those who write the schedules? Stay tuned.