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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Hard at times

Throughout my journey as a technical writer, I've encountered other technical writers who fall under a few camps. The following is not an exhaustive list. One camp is they're passionate about technology or the industry they're writing about. Another camp is they use technical writing as a springboard for career advancement. A third camp is it's just a job for them. Finally, they're ones who are passionate about writing. 

Typically, I've encountered technical writers that are in the first camp or seem to be in this one. That's great for them. But I don't fall under the first camp. It's hard at times to be passionate about technology or industries. These subjects are interesting but they get old eventually. Also, it just comes back to making money, regardless they spin it. Now, there's nothing wrong with making money. I like to make money too. And I believe in free-enterprise, if it still exist and if it's done by honest and just means. But life is more than just making money

I don't care to use technical writing as a springboard. I'm content as a technical writer. So when corporate well-to-dos ask me where do you see yourself in blah, blah, blah, it's like I'm talking with someone from another planet. (Now, I wouldn't mind speaking with extraterrestrials.) Why would leave creating documentation for some middle management position? No thanks. Not a good trade for me.

Technical writing isn't just a job for me either. It's a craft. But it's also not my life. God and my family are. So, this leads me to the last camp, which seems to be the smallest based on my travels. But I don't like to write for writing's sake. So, I don't completely fit this camp either. I love to write with a purpose. If there's no clear purpose, then I don't want to spend the energy to write. I don't find it a good use of my time.

So, if I'm not passionate about technology or industry, "career advancement", or for writing's sake, then why I do it? I'm a technical writer for three reasons. One, I like to write. Two, I like to help others.  Three, I like to find a good way to provide for a family. As far as I know, technical writing is the best way to combine these three passions together. 

Whether we should be inundated with technology or ruled by industries is another conversation that I may address someday in this blog. But for now, I'm just here to help guide others through the informational and technological labyrinths. My desire to write and help others is what drives me to understand these subjects, so I can write about them well. And my desire to provide for my family fuels my technical writing journey to continue, even though God is the One who really provides. I'm just here to follow His lead on the means, even though sadly I've gotten in His way to do so many times.

So when others ask me about what tools to do documentation or get into debates which one is better, I don't care. I can tell you pros and cons of tools I've used, but it's not a hill for me fight and die on. I will use whatever tools I have available to create good documents. 

I care more about the bigger picture: Creating clear and accurate documents for the intended audience. I'm more interested in what makes good documentation than certain toolsets. I find too many technical writers or higher ups get hung up on the latter rather than the former. What is the point of tools if documentation is confusing, wrong, or overwhelming? Let's stick to good documentation principles and rest will follow.

Maybe I'm in the wrong field. Maybe technical writing is really for technophiles and corporatocrats. Maybe I'm just an anomaly, but that's thinking too highly of myself. Maybe I should look elsewhere. If there were a better place for me, then I'll go there. Maybe if I could just speak better and verbally explain how something work, I would ditch the writing thing. Writing is great but also very painful and draining. But this kind of thinking like this is fruitless and wasteful. For now, unless God makes it clear, I'll stay here in this technical writing game.

God gave me a gift and I will use it to glorify Him by writing clear, accurate, and easy-to-follow information so others can understand. I spent far beyond enough years doubting whether God gave me this gift and skill, so I can hone it. I'll go with it till I can go on no more. In the meantime, I'll keep on writing in the tech world.


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