Sometimes it feels that I am working in a vacuum. I spend hours and hours clicking away on the keyboard. I can go an entire day at work without talking to a single person. However, it is important to remember that as a Technical Writer and Instructional Designer, I am not alone. There are many people on whom I rely for information and collaboration. Make sure that you are fully utilizing your team to create the best documentation and training possible.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
Working with SMEs is an important part of technical writing and training development. They are the ones with the subject knowledge. Often they have the ears of the project sponsors. When you work well with your SME and you know how to filter the content, everyone wins – the client, the audience, and you. Here is a great article on Harnessing the Power of a SME.
Illustrators and Graphic Designers
Because of budget, I often to do my own illustration and graphic design on projects. I do my best using templates and very basic Photoshop skills, but I am the first to admit that illustration and writing are two very different forms of art. When the opportunity to work with an illustrator or graphic designer is possible, it is good to follow some basic guidelines to insure clear communication and realistic expectations on both sides for a successful project. Here are eight tips for working with a graphic designer, which are also applicable for working with an illustrator.
On my projects nothing ever goes to a client that has not been edited. I greatly value my editor and it is not an easy job. An editor is responsible for catching all errors in a project, making valuable suggestions for improvement, and, ultimately, protecting the company’s reputation. That’s a lot of pressure.
A few important things to remember when working with an editor are:
- Proofread your work before giving it to the editor. At a minimum, run the spell check tool.
- Provide the project standards and guidelines.
- Grow thick skin. Don’t take revisions and comments personally. They are only to make the project better.
- Know when an editor’s comment is a suggestion. Sometimes it is okay not to follow the changes.
- Provide the editor with sufficient time. Do not wait until 4:00 pm of the project due date and expect the editor to be able to do a proper job.
Techwhirl has a very detailed article about editors for more information. You can also look forward to more about editors and editing your work in a future blog.