Having the same role for a long time, doing similar routine tasks can make you feel stuck. When you have pretty much figured what you do, the question of what you should do to become better at it arises.
Easy to Learn Hard to Master
This title speaks volumes. It’s true for any craft, technical writing technical writing is no exception. When you get into a new field, as a rule, you start progressing very quickly. You are learning the basics and can see your results improving.
Some time goes by and you feel the pacing is changing. Your progress starts slowing down. It feels like on the one hand you’ve learned a lot and further learning can’t provide you with any game-changers or serious “aha” moments. But on the other hand, there’s obviously room for improvement and you haven’t become any sort of a techcomm guru yet.
To see greater results you need to keep pushing forward, continuing your education as a technical writer.
The Many Ways to Seek Knowledge
The obvious answer to continuing education would be getting technical writing certification. Although getting certified is a surefire way to improve tech writing skills, there are other things (perhaps, some of them will prove more entertaining) you can do to master help authoring.
Some people mistake simply generating text with gaining tech writing experience. Well, you do gain it to some extent as you are still being faced with new challenges and get notes from editors, but without properly analyzing your work and making corresponding changes into the work process the progress is going to be super slow. Besides, there’s always a chance of being subjective about what you do, so looking for sources of expertise outside is a good practice.
Be more present to the working environment you are in. If you are working in a documentation team, it means you are surrounded by peers daily. You can seek their advice or just analyze how your colleagues approach tasks similar to yours and see what you can learn from them.
Participation in forums and communities for technical writers can be very beneficial. People live and breathe help authoring there. And, the best part is these places are interactive, which means you can simply start a thread and, hopefully, get a fruitful discussion. Don’t be shy, techcomm communities are quite friendly!
Attending technical writing events can both help you learn new stuff and keep you inspired to dig deeper. The latter is just as important. You need to be inspired and motivated to stay focused on your goal of becoming a real pro.
The road is long and winding, but it is surely rewarding to look back and see all the work you’ve done and the progress you’ve made.
Don’t panic if you are feeling stuck in terms of professional development. We have all been there. This is a perfectly normal phase to go through. When you already have a certain amount of knowledge, it will be harder to keep the pace up.
As long as you remain passionate about what you do, new opportunities will present themselves to you almost automatically as you will seek them everywhere even subconsciously.
Good luck with your technical writing!
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