Tech writing is easy
The perception or belief that technical writing doesn’t require any skills beyond common spelling and grammar, therefore anyone with a grade-school education should be able to do it.
Blake (5 Writing Myths Debunked) bases this misperception on the fact that much of the work involved in writing is not visible to the outside observer. Amity (Mythbusters: Technical Communication Edition) lists many of the not-so-obvious (or visible) technical communication tasks and “nuances that take time and effort to refine,” such as “global issues, like usability, and local issues, like word choice.”
Prakash (Technical Writing: 10 Myths and Facts (Part 1) & Technical Writing: 10 Myths and Facts (Part 2)) describes such misperceptions held by the uninformed as “technical writing is a cut and paste job,” to “become a technical writer if you want to relax at work”, and that all a technical writer does is “just write,” because “technical writers have nothing much to do.”
No research was cited to support or refute this myth. Most of the information in the lists use what seem to be personal and anecdotal references.
- Inform your stakeholders by making your research, writing, editing, publihsing, and maintenance processes more more visible. Don’t overwhelm them in details, but don’t keep them in the dark, either.
- Track and highlight the value your writing adds to their product or organization.
This myth is also expressed as, “It’s just typing.”
This belief can also be expressed by someone who wishes to minimize the value of the role.
At the same time, there are no formal or legal requirements to become a technical writer. Howver, that simply means the job is open to anyone who wants to learn how to do it—not that it’s easy to do.
- 5 Writing Myths Debunked
- Mythbusters: Technical Communication Edition
- Technical Writing: 10 Myths and Facts (Part 1)
- Technical Writing: 10 Myths and Facts (Part 2)
None yet. If you find some, please let me know in the comments.