RE: What makes us competitive? (was Re: Rates)

Subject: RE: What makes us competitive? (was Re: Rates)
From: "Chantel Brathwaite" <brathwaitec -at- castupgrade -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 18:52:03 -0400

Deborah -

I start by saying thank you to you and Eric. I was a member of this list
years ago (back in the 90s and early 2000s) and I was helped so much by the
advice here and the articles. I grew as a tech writer through the community
here. In fact, the article about how to become a more "techie" tech writer
(I believe Eric might have written it) helped me tremendously in my career.

To respond your question, I agree that wages aren't necessarily what makes
the entire industry competitive. I think that what makes a technical writer
useful is in the skillful application of a varied toolset and the ability to
quickly acquire new tools that will contribute to the bottom line. The
bottom line might be helping a non-profit produce wordless instructions on a
product that will be given to developing nations across the world. Or it
could be finding an innovative way to teach industry professionals how to
quickly use a new tool. So little of technical writing is really about
writing; so much of it is about how to organize material so it makes sense,
knowing how to get information from people who feel that they don't have
time for you, and in spotting gaps and problems before they occur or helping
to solve problems after they have occurred.

I think what makes the industry competitive is the ability for technical
writers across the board to fairly consistently be able to add value that is
typically missing on development teams. Usually that is being able to
communicate clearly to the user and to see the big picture. I think that
particularly at this time, at a time when users want it now - when they are
used to being able to access information in a variety of formats - that is
increasingly important for tech writers to be able to clearly explain
concepts using words, graphics, and video in a way that is engaging. I
think that writers who can do this AND communicate well with customers and
developers and who can also clarify technical concepts are probably the ones
who will be able to command more competitive rates.



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Re: Rates: From: Keith Hood
What makes us competitive? (was Re: Rates): From: Deborah Ray

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