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Let’s start off by defining an “information dump.” In simple terms, an information dump is when you are loaded with information about a project. This information is not handed to you in any logical manner. It’s the initial project information you get from the client or SMEs.
As a technical writer, there will be numerous situations where you will be subject to an information dump. What you have to learn is how to handle it. More importantly, you have to learn how to make sense of this information. Think of an information dump like the pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle. But there are two differences. You may not be given the picture to complete the jigsaw puzzle. And there will be some extra pieces that you will not need.
Let’s look at an example of an information dump. Your project is to create a set of operating procedures for a crane used for heavy construction. The target audience is operators of these cranes.
You have a meeting with three SMEs, and they give you all the information. Here’s a list of the information you get from them:
- Test results – 428 pages
- Crane specifications – 23 pages
- Operating environment specifications – 9 pages
- Safety information – 54 pages
- Operating limitations – 11 pages
- Lifting with the crane – 46 pages
- Moving heavy objects with the crane – 25 pages
- Maintenance specifications – 98 pages
- Important terms – 33 pages
That’s a total of 727 pages. It’s your job to sort through this information and select the pieces for the operating procedures. For example, you will not include 428 pages of test results in the operating procedures. The crane operator doesn’t care about that. But you’ll need to include operating limitations.
When sorting out the information, keep your target audience in perspective. Answer the question, “Is this piece of information important to my target audience?” If it’s not, then you may not have to use it.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when so much information has been dumped onto you. Expert technical writer Bill Moorehas this very useful suggestion. He says that when you’re part of an information dump session, you should become a sponge. Soak up as much information as you can. Then go back and let this information get tossed around in your mind. In fact, Bill sometimes forgets about the project for a day and sleeps on it. More often than not, he’ll have a plan in place the next morning, and he goes about methodically putting his plan into action.
If you can write a simple sentence and organize your thoughts then technical writing may be a rewarding field. You can easily make it a second income stream in your spare time.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary for technical writers is $60,380. Freelance technical writers can make from $30 to $70 per hour.
The field of technical writing is like a golden city. It’s filled with wealth, rewards and opportunities. After learning technical writing you can branch out into business writing, marketing writing and communications writing. All of these can become additional income streams.
But to succeed you must learn how to market yourself to clients. You have to prove to them that you are an invaluable asset. That’s where ProTech – Your Fast Track to Becoming a Successful Technical Writer can help. It’s a technical writing course that does two equally important things:
1. It teaches you the skills to become a technical writer in the shortest time frame. You’ll learn to create manuals, procedures, tutorials, processes, proposals, spec sheets and other documents that businesses need.
2. It shows you how to market yourself to clients so you can start your income stream as soon as possible.
In fact, you’ll get a complete marketing toolkit which has templates and technical writing job sites to get started immediately!
You can download two sample lessons by clicking the link below.
This could be your chance to create a prosperous future.
Click the link below to download your two sample lessons.