Over the course of the last two months, I have made much progress in the technique of my technical writing. My primary concern, the inclusion of erroneous information, has – in my opinion – diminished somewhat thanks to more effortful proofreads, and the structural flow is growing smoother with each new paper. Additionally, I have been getting more comfortable with including visual aids to my work. Thanks to some of the more recent assignments, I have had a chance to practice the use of imagery to convey information.
The discussion piece on fracking and the flint water crisis was the first key work which allowed me to develop my skills with visual information. Done in two parts, the requirement was to explain to either explain an environmental and health related crisis, or to explain the process which led to said crisis, and to pair that information with visual aids. As an overall writing piece, it is simple by design, so there was no need for complex transitions, and the information used conveys the point clearly enough. More importantly, while the charts are not exactly the ones in the ‘drawn from’ examples, they do accomplish two goals: they all tell different information, and the information they tell can link together to bolster the explanation made just before. As a start to the use of visual communication, it was very successful, and with some formatting, could make for a convincing article.
On the topic of formatted documents, the usability letter and business correspondence definitely prove that I have become much more comfortable with writing formal documents. Once I understood the purpose and expected length of the usability letter, it took little time to plan out its format. It also helped me to list out all of the technical points (numbers, tests, times, etc.) so that I knew what had to be mentioned. The correspondence letter was more of a retread of a previously done document, meaning I approached this as a chance to quiz myself on corporate lettering without the need for a reference to set up. The writing is well organized and the only real issue was the lack of a written signature at the end. The only real difficulty for either of these was figuring out a topic to write about, but that has little to do with reflection.
On their own, each of the technical communication pieces I have written over the last few months show are good in their own right, but as parts of the timeline of my developing skills are evidence of substantial improvement. I require far less aid to get myself started, I am getting used to using visuals as communication, and my writing has become smoother and more concise. While more practice will never hurt, it is good to have proof that none of that effort Is going to waste.