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The Insider's Guide to Technical Writing by Krista Van Laan

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The Care and Feeding of Your First Project

If you’ve never worked as a technical writer before, you may wonder what you’re expected to do when your manager announces you are responsible for “updating” or “taking over” existing documentation. What exactly does that mean?

Congratulations. You’ve just adopted a project—some kind of document, help library, or other content. It’s not unlike bringing a pet home from the animal shelter. No matter what its history or how it came to be the way it is, its welfare now depends on you.

Ask your manager, or the person responsible for the project, what his expectations are. Make sure you are clear on what your responsibilities are, and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand. Are you proofreading? Doing ...

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