I am a writer…a technical writer. I studied English Writing and Rhetoric as a undergraduate and now I’m conquering the world of technical communication one software program at a time. When I first decided I wanted to write, I envisioned novels – lots of successful novels about romance and designer clothes. I gave creative writing a shot, but it was not my forte (I do, however, enjoy writing an occasional poem or short story). As I progressed further in the English program at St. Edward’s University, I was lucky enough to discover that I have an odd passion for editing sentences word by word and designing some of the most boring documents out there – manuals, instructions, and all pieces technical. But for me, they’re not boring. They’re the best way to get your message across to those who don’t seem to know how to listen. They are simple, straightforward, and offer countless options for design.
What I’ve realized recently, and I have my tech comm professors to thank for this (Eakman, Allison, and Zhu) is that technical communication involves a significant amount of technology – A point that might seem obvious to some of you but when your idea of technical is perfect grammar, learning to conquer the Adobe Creative Suite will cause paralyzing fear.
Now, I am a technology lover, but I have never been the tech savvy one of my family and friends. The tech savvy one in my life has always been my mother. If I had a technological problem, she could fix it. She still spends hours over the holidays revamping my grandmother’s computer to make sure it is completely up-to-date. But the other day, as I was chatting with some of my tech comm peers, my professor chimed in with some inspiring words. As we were discussing programs we had never heard of but that we might encounter on the job, she said to us, ” What you need to do is be confident that you can do it, that you can learn it. It may take you a while, but it’s not some kind of mystery thing that you cannot possibly figure out.”
Suddenly, things started to make a bit more sense. Although the thought of entering a technical world where I am completely unfamiliar with the software, hardware, etc. is somewhat traumatizing, I’m not the type of person step down from a challenge. The only hours, outside of dance, where I am completely engulfed and engaged in something is when I’m writing, designing, or trying to figure out a technical document or program. Whether I’m using Dreamweaver, Photoshop, or my most recent endeavor, Adobe Illustrator, I’m never more at ease than when I’m working with documents in these programs.
For those of you out there who are like me, tech writers or not, don’t let the fear of failing at learning and understanding new technologies interfere with what you do best. Face the challenge head on and just know that you can do it.
Until next time,