Tips for Handling Technical Writer Stress

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    Everyone gets stressed out at work no matter what your job function. As a Technical Writer, you too will probably have situations at one time or other where you get stressed out as well. In order to avoid communicating less or ineffectively, take a break or slow down for a while. Here are a few other ideas to get you through the rough times.

    Be Positive – the work will get done. Staying positive reflects on your coworkers and your team, so this will show them that everything is under control, and hence more productivity will occur. Remaining positive also allows you to communicate more effectively and precisely. It allows you to remain calm and to express yourself better. Use this technique in meetings especially when the Technical Writer has to gather relevant information from those that oppose what you are doing (as not everyone likes to share pertinent information) or when you have to get an extension on your part of the project for when unaccounted problems occur.

    Be Organized – know what your schedule is. Create your own project plan (or To Do List) and include extra time for unforeseen incidents. Create a ‘what if’ road map that shows what path to take for certain situations, such as, what if a team member calls out or is unavailable, or what if the delivery date is moved up, or a rewrite is necessary because of a drastic change in an application you were writing about.

    Be Focused – keep the end goal in mind. Make sure you are retrieving the right information by asking all the relevant questions you need to for gathering your data. For example, ask about previous procedures and processes and who was in charge of those so that you can refer back to them if needed. Next, create an outline. When you are ready to begin writing, create a mapping and see if you need to update or include any other data.

    Be Available – let others know how you can be reached in case of changes that might affect the outcome of the project or if approval is needed for, e.g., approvals or updates to tables, charts, images, etc., that are to be included in a document.

    Be Mindful – know what has to be done. Begin your necessary documents as soon as you can to stay ahead. You can also plan ahead by creating contingency plans for any unexpected delays and bottlenecks. Also, make sure that all known problems are resolved. When planning out documentation projects, such as, analyzing project requirements, identifying types of documents required, selecting resources for writing and gathering data, and setting milestones, also make sure you have the right tools available and the budget required to complete the project. And lastly,

    Be An Editor and review everything. Make sure you have written the right amount of information for the right people. For example, has the documentation been written for the novice user or management.

    If you have other ideas to add about how to lessen stress, please leave a comment. Thank you.