You Have to Support Your New Writer
Your successful project must include User Documents (manuals, instruction sheets, etc).
Because of staffing constraints, you have chosen a non-writer to create the User Documentation for your product.
Your company can write great User Documents in house.
You need the best User Document, in shortest time, at low cost. And you expect that from your new, in-house writer. You can get it, if you provide him/her with good support.
Can I Be Really Blunt Here?
Lots of Time & Money?
If you've got lots of time and money then my suggestion is to let your new writer learn how to write on his or her own. They are welcome to use the Resources on this website as a guide. If you want to do it this way, have your new writer
- read my article on the First Things to Do,
- read the books in the Course Bibliography,
- follow the steps in the Course Structure,
- and get some information from our Reading Room.
He/she can spend the weeks and months necessary, learning how to write, and then attempt to write a User Document.
Reality: Under Time & Budget Constraints?
Alternatively, if you are under time and budget constraints then I strongly suggest using my "Creating Great User Documentation: A Hands-On Course."
This Course doesn't just teach and then let your new writer go off and write. Instead, it GUIDES your new writer from start to finish to create the best possible User Document. It provides clear steps and examples from Attitude Adjustment through Pre-Publication of the User Document.
The Course is technology-free. It concentrates on providing the Content that your Readers need, and excellent Access to that content. The Course works with any word processor. It is firmly grounded in reality.
The Course works for any kind of product: software, a physical product, consumables.
Instead of reading more on this page, look at the Course Main Page.
Get your writing project on the move...Download the Course FREE, here!
How Does Your New Writer Feel About the Assignment?
Your new writer may be feeling many negative emotions. If we recognize these, the project will go more smoothly. Here are some possible emotions:
How are you helping your new writer through this period of uncertainty?
You Have to Support Your New Writer
You want the best possible User Document for your product. A Great User Document will enhance your Users' experience with your product. Provide some support to your new writer and you will increase the chances of success. Here's what you should provide:
- An Editor
Please see my article, "Beware of Your Editor, Love Your Editor"
- Style Guide
This is a book that specifies correct phraseology for your industry. Using one eliminates some wording decisions, and ensures consistency in the User Document.
• About the product, • About the Users, • About the marketing.
• Access to the product.
Your new writer needs resources...you or someone has to act as his/her "Patron" to get the writer what he/she needs.
Good training is a time saver. Really good training should understand how your new writer feels, and help him/her to overcome any negative feelings about the project.
Please note that I did not say anything about a "Content Management System" or fancy writing software. Your focus should be on producing a User Document that has:
- The Content that the Users need
- Effective Access so the Users can easily find the relevant content.
Here's Some Do-It-Yourself Information
There are many books, and a large amount of free information on the Internet. My site provides some useful stuff. But beware! If you are asking your to learn to produce a User Document on his/her own, then the project will take an inordinate amount of time.
Students have told me that my one week (face to face) courses have saved them about six months of self-instruction. A course in creating Great User Documents will be a time and money saver.
Since my Course guides your new writer in creating a great User Document; it can take no time at all.
The time spent with the Course materials is much less than the time a new writer will waste trying to learn about and design the document, specify the topics, write and review the topics on his/her own. And the self-taught User Document will be mediocre (even many of the professionally written ones are poor...they serve as examples in the Course).
How long would it take your new writer to read and assimilate just one book on writing? None of the books are complete, and none of the books guide the new writer in the task. If it takes between two and three days, you have more than paid for the Course.
Here are some links to useful information for your do-it-yourselfer New Writer:
- Overall Method for writing a great User Document
- First Things to Do on the Writing Project
- Analyzing Your Reader
- Creating the Most Important Section of the User Document
Shortcut: Here's How to Make the Writing Assignment a Success
Feel safe...it's Guaranteed.
I stake my reputation on it.