It has been one full month since the beginning of the new semester. This means that a whole new collection of writings has been submitted, graded, and returned for reference. Starting out I had very little knowledge of technical communications – what they entailed, how to write them, the proper formats and address details – and as a result, I had little confidence in the quality of the early work that I turned out. In hindsight, however, my opinion may have been based on something preconceived, wrong, and blown far out of proportions.
The complaint and adjustment letters – written cooperatively – were my first proper ventures into writing technical communications. My only advantage was that I was a naturally formal letter writer. Proper introduction, a detailed explanation, and end with a formal request the letter was originally written for. Because of this, the complaint letter was relatively easy for me to write, with the exception of finding a proper way to organize the details so that all related matters were written close together, and nothing hopefully repeated. The adjustment letter was more complicated to write, because it does not conform to the standards of a request letter like a complaint letter can. An adjustment letter has to be an appropriate response, not a returned complaint. Thankfully I had ready access to my textbook to show me a proper way to write an adjustment letter, so I did not have to dwell on my confusion for very long. However, it quickly dawned on me afterward that this was going to become more complex than a standard essay.
The incident report form and the meeting minute both were handled the exact same way; reworking online samples – the formats anyway – and filled in the blanks. Neither of these were difficult, seeing as they both were very much a fill-in-the-blanks kind of technical communication. This is especially true for the incident report, because it was based on a proper company report form. The only difficulties I found here were what to use to fill the forms. The best I could work with was a combination of warning I was told working with my father and in my high school’s metal workshop. Various bits including how to manage the printers, safety precautions when using the cutting tools, and how to manage the amount of material you are working with. The meeting minutes were based off of various conversations I had with other people, and meetings that were going on near me while I was working. I am incredibly grateful that I had some form of real world experience to put into this work.
My current portfolio of work this semester is still rather small all things considered, and the quality of my work, frankly, has made very little improvement. For the first four assignments I was given, I approached them all in the exact same manner; finding a sample, changing the story, and fluffing up the vocabulary. The one thing that has changed is my understanding of what is entailed in a technical communication. I simply need to keep my focus sharp when looking for erroneous details.