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Inking a Harmonious Career and
Managing it Well
~ Amit Kapoor
Associate Director, Content Marketing, Cigniti Technologies
...
Agenda
▪ 3 minutes (or less) blah-blah-ing about self – as suggested
▪ Next 35 minutes: sharing what I learnt over 16 year...
▪ What is needed to harmoniously ink a successful career in the writing industry?
▪ The basic skills that writers must hav...
But first, who am I?
© 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 4
I’M A CONTENT WRITER WHO IS NOT CONTENT, YET.
© 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 5
SAGITTARIAN
PJ KING, WITTY
PUBLISHED POET
PATIEN...
Before We Begin…
© 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 6
The Beginning…
© 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 7
An Accidental Discovery of a Career
How many of you knew about technical writing before opting to become a writer?
Why hav...
Harmoniously Inking a Successful Career in the Writing Industry
First, what is good writing?
Per what I read, and experien...
The Basic Skills that Writers Must Have to Enter the Field
▪ Good English. Not the ‘I can able to did the work’ English.
▪...
The Basic Traits that Writers Must Have to Survive
To survive, I feel writers need more of mental/psychological traits apa...
The Basic Traits to Survive contd.
▪ Good Interviewing And Listening Skills: Google/Read before you ask. The
developers’ t...
The Basic Traits to Survive contd. - Skills
▪ Learn the tools. FrameMaker, Confluence, RoboHelp, Flare, or AuthorIT – or a...
The Basic Traits that Writers Must Have to Thrive/Grow
The basic traits that writers must have (to enter the field + to su...
The Basic Traits To Thrive/Grow contd.
▪ Become approachable for everyone. Help colleagues when asked: whether from
HR/IT ...
The Basic Traits To Thrive/Grow Contd.
▪ As much as possible, try to have the tasks being performed recorded via emails.
F...
Some Additional Skills/Traits that will Help
• Be technology-savvy and open to
learning
• Be flexible
• Have a good sense ...
SOME ADDITIONAL SKILLS/TRAITS THAT WILL HELP
© 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 18
Don’t Forget Your Teachers
▪ Some of mine:
© 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 19
IN CONCLUSION
With “content” being the king in today’s information and connection age, technical writers are at an
excitin...
thank you! ☺
for your bricks & bouquets, reach me:
Amit Kapoor
amit.tech2002@gmail.com/amit_tech2002@yahoo.com
linkedin: i...
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Inking a Harmonious Career: Technical Writers who want to to enter, survive, and thrive/grow in the field of Technical Writing

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For Technical Writers who want to to enter, survive, and thrive/grow in the field of Technical Writing. Slides presented by Amit Kapoor at the 18th STC India Annual Conference held at Hyderabad in December 2016.

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Inking a Harmonious Career: Technical Writers who want to to enter, survive, and thrive/grow in the field of Technical Writing

  1. 1. Inking a Harmonious Career and Managing it Well ~ Amit Kapoor Associate Director, Content Marketing, Cigniti Technologies © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 1
  2. 2. Agenda ▪ 3 minutes (or less) blah-blah-ing about self – as suggested ▪ Next 35 minutes: sharing what I learnt over 16 years as I tried to harmoniously ink a career in the writing industry ▪ 5 minutes of your questions, & my answers ▪ The last 2 minutes will have the emcee try to make head or tail of what I said © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 2
  3. 3. ▪ What is needed to harmoniously ink a successful career in the writing industry? ▪ The basic skills that writers must have: ➢to enter the field ➢to survive ➢to thrive/grow ▪ And your expectations, some real situations, & how to try to handle the unexpected situations © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 3 Key Objectives
  4. 4. But first, who am I? © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 4
  5. 5. I’M A CONTENT WRITER WHO IS NOT CONTENT, YET. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 5 SAGITTARIAN PJ KING, WITTY PUBLISHED POET PATIENT ANIMAL LOVER (NOT JUST CHICKEN) COMPULSIVE EDITOR COMPERE, THEATRE ARTIST (2 DECADES AGO)
  6. 6. Before We Begin… © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 6
  7. 7. The Beginning… © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 7
  8. 8. An Accidental Discovery of a Career How many of you knew about technical writing before opting to become a writer? Why have you entered this arena? Are you aware of its upsides & downsides? How I became a technical writer – sweet sixteen years ago © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 8
  9. 9. Harmoniously Inking a Successful Career in the Writing Industry First, what is good writing? Per what I read, and experienced, “Writing is an activity performed to communicate information in a manner that is understandable & helps people become productive. if your readers can wisely take a decision or perform a required action then it is a piece of a well written content.” While basic English is imperative to enter the technical writing industry, surviving, managing a career in the field, & thriving (when you get a chance, becoming a leader,) - is a whole different ball game in itself. Let’s talk about it. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 9
  10. 10. The Basic Skills that Writers Must Have to Enter the Field ▪ Good English. Not the ‘I can able to did the work’ English. ▪ Ability to comprehend and explain a concept/product in a manner that is easy to understand ▪ As I read somewhere: ➢“If you don’t care about semicolons and fonts, find another career. If no one has ever described you as “obsessive” or “picky,” find another career.” ▪ And a college degree – In English studies or journalism, or as the current trend shows – MTECH/BTECH etc. For marketing content writers, some organizations demand/expect MBA. My take – not compulsory. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 10
  11. 11. The Basic Traits that Writers Must Have to Survive To survive, I feel writers need more of mental/psychological traits apart from the basic skills required to enter the field. A few pointers: ▪ Curiosity: To find out more about the concept/product. You are the first manual tester of the product. Test it inside out, document failures, and file bugs – whether in design, flow, or functioning. You might find an error message that says ‘something has gone wrong somewhere’. Correct it after you talk to the developer. ▪ Most Important: Practice and improve your ability to interact with developers, engineers, illustrators, and printers (standees and collaterals). I said it in a previous session, I repeat – take them out for tea/drinks – and don’t discuss work there. discuss what interests them. Once back at their desk – ask for information. This is what will help create the harmony that we are referring to at this conference. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 11
  12. 12. The Basic Traits to Survive contd. ▪ Good Interviewing And Listening Skills: Google/Read before you ask. The developers’ time is more important than yours. They feel so. Always. I believe no question is stupid. But that is within my writing group. For developers, frame your questions wisely. ▪ Patience And Perseverance: Loads of it while you wait for inputs. ▪ Be Humble. Learn from your peers and cross-functional teams, and accept feedback and criticism. Always helps to grow. ▪ Read The Standards Followed By Organizations For Writing: MSTP and Chicago Manual of Style, for example. ▪ Focus & Attention To Details: US versus rest of the world English: ‘Z’ Vs. ‘S’; extra white spaces after full stops, alignment of bullet points, etc. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 12
  13. 13. The Basic Traits to Survive contd. - Skills ▪ Learn the tools. FrameMaker, Confluence, RoboHelp, Flare, or AuthorIT – or any other. Shouldn’t take too much time. I believe having no-experience with a tool should not be a problem. I didn’t know any when I first ventured in the field. Yes, openness of organizations and luck helps too. ▪ Learn and practice how to create your own graphics. A lot of companies today expect writers to know Visio, PPT, and even Adobe In-design/Illustrator. Practice in your free time. Its fun. ▪ Again, do not use words you learnt while preparing for GRE. Keep it simple. don't use floccinaucinihilipilification to refer to estimating or categorizing something as worthless. Just say it is worthless. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 13
  14. 14. The Basic Traits that Writers Must Have to Thrive/Grow The basic traits that writers must have (to enter the field + to survive) + the ability to: ▪ Own the task. Be responsible: It’s your baby. ▪ Be meticulous. Proofread your work. 3 Rs: Read, Review, Rewrite. ▪ Appreciate good work: A good UI design by graphic designers, a good edit by a peer writer. ▪ Honestly share inputs with peers: With no intention of malice, only to help improve their writing skills, and the content. As said earlier, your being humble when giving inputs is paramount, and can pave way for a long, fruitful career. ▪ Provide inputs for improving UI/WEBSITE/TEMPLATES better. Don’t dig for dirt – suggest improvements. And then be receptive of similar feedback. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 14
  15. 15. The Basic Traits To Thrive/Grow contd. ▪ Become approachable for everyone. Help colleagues when asked: whether from HR/IT or the writers team as much as possible, but after taking care of your deliverables – unless critical. ▪ Say no to a task when it is not possible in the given timeline. Then asking for more time, and providing what is needed. That said – be prepared to stretch yourself thin at times to get things moving. ▪ Bargain for better timelines. If only a tad bit – for projects that needed to be completed yesterday, but the source file is provided today. ▪ Learn to communicate. Don’t be rude, but learn to express your concerns in post- mortem meetings – not before the task is completed. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 15
  16. 16. The Basic Traits To Thrive/Grow Contd. ▪ As much as possible, try to have the tasks being performed recorded via emails. Friendships are good, but at times, people don’t give due credit. Hence, proof is required. Especially around appraisals. ☺ ▪ Learn the art of following up. Be tenacious – don’t let go until you have the required information. ▪ Proactively identify how you can improve the documentation/templates/flow. Perform competitive analysis. ▪ Proactively take training sessions to help improve overall communication in the organization. This will also convince management of the need of having a good team of writers. ▪ Lead without a title, as Robin Sharma says. It matters. © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 16
  17. 17. Some Additional Skills/Traits that will Help • Be technology-savvy and open to learning • Be flexible • Have a good sense of humour • Plan well • Learn soft skills © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 17
  18. 18. SOME ADDITIONAL SKILLS/TRAITS THAT WILL HELP © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 18
  19. 19. Don’t Forget Your Teachers ▪ Some of mine: © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 19
  20. 20. IN CONCLUSION With “content” being the king in today’s information and connection age, technical writers are at an exciting point in an evolving world. Question time. How may I help you? ☺ © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 20
  21. 21. thank you! ☺ for your bricks & bouquets, reach me: Amit Kapoor amit.tech2002@gmail.com/amit_tech2002@yahoo.com linkedin: in.linkedin.com/in/kapooramit/ twitter: amitwritesat © 2016, STC INDIA CHAPTER 21

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