Different Types of Writing

August 25, 2012

When we talk about writing, it can be of any kind. Type of writing can vary, depending on the style, motive or technology on which you are writing. In my technical writing career, I have done various kind of writing, and today I want to share my knowledge on different types of writing which are given here:

  1. Technical Writing: It refers to writing technical concepts, and ideas in an easy to understand method. Today cell phones, computers, televisions, and refrigerators become an essential part of our life. Thus, it is necessary to understand installing, and troubleshooting these gadgets. Technical Writing involves writing on these kinds of gadgets, and creating online help, user manuals, installation guides, reports and other technical documents.
  2. Content Writing: It refers to writing on various fields, such as business, technology, politics, market, and research. Generally, content writing deals with the contents prepared for web. Main objective of content writing is to understand the target audience, and prepare content that can catch their attention. Content writing also used to prepare the content on the basis of search engine optimization to achieve the top ranking on the search engines.
  3. Copy Writing: Copy writing refers to write the content for advertising and media to promote a product, a group, a company, or an idea. Aim of copy writing is to sell a product, service, or suggest your target audience to choose your business, or organization. Copy writing may also deals in creating proposals, whitepapers, newsletters, brochures, press release, and other promotional materials.
  4. Creative Writing: It covers a broad range and involves writing on different topics – fiction or non-fiction. Generally, creative writing includes writing short stories, poems, and novels. Main objective of creative writing is to look the world from a different perspective, and express your thoughts creatively.
  5. API Writing: This kind of writing deals with application programming interface. API is a source code interface provided to interact with applications. API writing involves writing for programmers or developers. API writing helps end users to learn about the API functions, their purposes, and parameters that are available in the application. In simple words, API writing tells you, what a function is supposed to do.
  6. Instructional Designing: Instructional designing deals with systematic development of learning objectives using instructional concepts and theories. Instruction design is used to make the learning as much interesting as possible. This kind of writing is widely used to prepare induction training programs.
  7. Journalism: Journalism refers to writing and reviewing, articles and news. Journalism is related to writing the content for print media like (newspaper, and magazines), and electronic media like (television, radio, and internet). Journalist reports and writes on a variety of topics which includes politics, business, market, health, education, sports, and relationships. Purpose of journalism is to educate, inform, and enlighten the reader.
  8. Editing or Reviewing: It deals with modifying a document, audio or video to meet the end user requirements. Editing and reviewing involves checking the document for consistency, grammatical correctness, and styles used to design the document. This process confirms that documentation or audio/video material is of good quality, and is ready to dispatch.

These are different types of writing used in the industry. Each type of writing requires hard work, focused mind, and a learning temperament.


Different Phases of Document Development Life Cycle

August 25, 2012

Technical documents play a major role in the success of software/product. These documents include user manuals, installation guides, and help pages. For good quality technical documents, DDLC must be followed while preparing these documents. Different phases of Document development life cycle are given here:

  • Requirement Analysis
  • Audience Analysis
  • Document Design (Outlining)
  • Development
  • Review
  • Publishing
  1. Requirement Analysis:- In this phase, technical writer understands the software requirement, and starts gathering information regarding the same. Technical writer explore the software, understand various features by working on it, and meet software developers to gather the valuable information. Once this phase is completed, all the queries related to software requirement must be resolved.
  2. Audience Analysis:-Technical document which needs to be prepared by technical writer are used by certain users. It must be clear to technical writer who will be the audience of these documents. Audience level is not same for a software, and may vary depending on their knowledge about the software. Audience can be categorized in two parts – novice audience, and experienced audience.

    Novice audiences are completely new to a software. They do not have any idea/knowledge of the software. On the other hand, experienced audience either have complete or a little knowledge of the software.

  3. Outlining the Document:- In this phase, outline of the document is prepared, which contains overall plan/structure of the document. Outlining is skeletal format of the document, and gives an idea of placing the elements. This skeletal information contains, introduction, table of contents, chapter/section information, and index. Outline gives the clear view of complete document at a glance.
  4. Development :- In this phase, actual development of the technical document is done. Technical writer explains all the contents that are collected, and planned in the outlining phase. Development phase require some extra time as complete drafting is done under this phase. Detailed table of content is also prepared with page numbers under this phase.
  5. Review:- Reviewing of documents include, checking the document for technical or grammatical errors. Testing review is done for measuring the quality of document for technical correctness while quality review is done by quality analyst to find grammatical mistakes.
  6. Publishing:- After completing testing and quality reviews, the document is ready to print. After completing all the previous phases, this phase relates actual delivery of the document to its target audiences.
Understanding the DDLC process helps in creating efficient, error-free, and quality documents.

Software Used in Technical Writing

August 25, 2012

In technical writing, you need to create documents in various formats like online help, user manuals, courseware, print media, and web based trainings. Various tools are available in the market to prepare these documents. These tools can be categorized according to the task performed by them. Let’s have a look on these tools:

  1. Publishing Tools (Microsoft Word, and FrameMaker) – Microsoft word is widely used to do the publishing tasks. It is easy to create, review, and modify your documents in Ms Word but with larger documents (more than 600 pages), it can create some problems. On the other hand, FrameMaker is considered as more stable and consistent tool to design documents. Styles are very consistent and rigid in FrameMaker that helps in handling larger documents.
  2. Help Authoring Tools (RoboHelp, Epic Editor, and HTML Help) – With the increase in internet usage, users become more dependent on internet. Online help allows the user to resolve their problems quite easily rather than turning pages of manuals. Help authoring tools like RoboHelp, Epic Editor and HTML Help are used to create online help manuals.
  3. Image Editing Tools (Photoshop, SnagIt, Corel Draw and Illustrator) – Graphics play an important role in making a document attractive. Image editing tools are used in designing, capturing, cropping, and modifying an image for the document. SnagIt is a screen capturing tool while others are used as image editing tools.
  4. Screen Recording Tools (Adobe Captivate) – These tools are used to create product demos, engaging simulations, and scenario-based training. It does not require programming knowledge or multimedia skills to work on these tools. Adobe captivate is a screen recording tool and widely used to create simulations.
  5. Web Designing Tools (Dreamweaver, FrontPage) – Web designing tools are used to prepare the content in the form of web pages. The valuable information is provided on these web pages and helps the user to solve their problems. Animations can also be used to make these web pages attractive.
  6. Template Designing Tools (InDesign, and PageMaker) – Templates are used to provide same layout throughout the document. Adobe InDesign and PageMaker are used to design templates. It is very easy to design datasheets, whitepapers, brochures, and other technical documents using these tools.
  7. Multimedia Tools (Flash and 3D Max) – Multimedia tools are used to create audio and video content. Animations can be added to your web pages or web content to make them attractive. Flash and 3D Max are widely used to create interactive animations and demonstrations.

These are some of the basic tools used in technical writing. However, various tools available in the market used for technical writing. Companies used different software for technical writing according to their convenience and usage.

Importance of Quality in Technical Writing

August 25, 2012

People often respect good quality writing, if you deliver your work in a strong and error-free package, readers take you seriously, and your message comes clearly to your audience. Your words reach people’s hearts and minds. Your writing is more powerful than a sword. It inspires, educates, and sometimes entertains your audience. If your writing is weak, readers say, “So what happen next?” If your writing contains errors, readers may confuse or distract from the actual message.

Interesting, error-free, and quality writing is what people expect when they buy a book. As a technical writer, it becomes your responsibility to provide your audience exactly what they expect. Readers will recommend good quality book to their friends, give it as a gift to their loving one’s, and wait expectantly for your next publication. Reader-by-reader your world gets change. What a tremendous responsibility! What a wonderful benefit!

When you write something that you know, you write it with authority. People listen to you because you are one who knows. Your knowledge is a gift to share among people. If others have different opinion in the field, you are writing about, acknowledge the other side also. Your statement will come across more strongly if the reader knows you have addressed the arguments/questions they would raise.

Remember, once you write something, at least some of the readers are going to believe you. Nobody notices when it is done well, but everyone see your mistakes clearly. Mistakes distract even the most sympathetic reader. Try to use active voice as much as possible because active voice is stronger, and moves the action along. Usage of passive voice seems like you are trying to hide something from your audience. So go ahead, and provide the best quality writing to your readers.

Skills Required in Technical Writing

August 25, 2012

Technical writing is now noticed and gaining recognition with time. Recently, I read about technical writing in the employment news. An article about technical writing was published on the front page. It indicates that people now looking technical writing as a career option. When I have joined as a technical writer, nobody knows about this field. I need to explain about my profession, when someone asked me about it. It makes me quite disappointed when I found that nobody knows about this profile. But, now as I tell somebody about my profession, people praise my work.

The qualities of a good technical writer include analyzing, writing, interviewing, and instructional designing skills. To be a good technical writer, you should be able to understand complex subjects quickly, and explain them in an easy language. You should be able to identify your audience, and explain the things in a simple way. You should be able to write clear, concise, error free, and user friendly documents. Personal and technical attributes are also necessary for a good technical writer.

  • Personal Attributes: As a technical writer, you should be a good listener, and quick learner. You should have good communication and writing skills. You must know organizing your thoughts in a better way, and write them accurately. You should be creative, focused, and able to interact with end users.
  • Technical Attributes: Generally, people having degrees in journalism, English literature, mass communication, and engineering are preferred for technical writing. However, it is not stable, and varies from company to company. For example, a software company prefers a person with technical or engineering backgrounds whereas, a company into media and publication prefers a person with a degree in journalism and mass communication.

With the increase in desktop publishing work, technical writers are increasing regularly. These technical writers are responsible for the publication of books, courseware’s, graphics, and document design. Major tools used by technical writers are as follows:

  1. Microsoft Word
  2. Adobe RoboHelp
  3. Adobe FrameMaker
  4. Adobe Captivate
  5. Adobe Dreamweaver
  6. Adobe Photoshop
  7. Adobe PageMaker
  8. Adobe Acrobat
  9. HTML Help
  10. Snag It
  11. Macromedia Authorware
  12. Epic Editor
  13. Web works

These are certain tools generally used in technical writing. However, if you are not familiar with these tools, you can learn them with time. There are online tutorials available to learn these tools at your own. You can also learn these tools using the Help section included in the software. Some companies hire freshers (having no experience) for technical writing, and train them on these tools. But, if you have the knowledge to work on these tools, then it will give you an advantage in job search.

After all, technical writing is the field of professionals who know “how to keep the balance of content, grammar, and style to achieve the goal”. As a technical writer, you have to produce quality documents that help people to learn, and use the technology easily. You may ask to write documents for people who have different experience level on the technology. So, always keep your target audience in mind while writing.

How to improve your writing skills

August 25, 2012

Having good writing skills can be very useful at times. For aspiring writers, it will be an essential quality. Some people naturally have good writing skills, while others may lack it. If you ever feel that you can never gain good writing skills, you are totally wrong. Everyone can attain quality writing skills, if they try. Some helpful tips are given here, which helps you to improve your writing skills.

  1. Write: – Write something daily as it helps you to improve your writing skills. If you don’t practice, you would not gain anything. Writing is an art, and you have to keep on writing to brush-up your skills. But, if you are wondering on what to write about, not to worry as I can give you some ideas. You can write on an incident that happen to you earlier, or about anything interesting that caught your eye when you were walking on the street. But, if there is nothing interesting that happens to you while you were strolling, get creative, and think of anything to write. It does not matter what you write as long as you attempt to write something.
  2. Criticism: – Write on a topic of your choice and allow it to be read by a critic. If you always write, but never shows it to someone to read, and edit the article, you might not be able to spot the mistakes in that piece of writing. Once you write an article, proofread it, and check it for errors. Then got a critic (it would be great if the person is an experienced critic) to comment on your work. This would allow the person to give you feedback on your work, and at the same time, you can learn how good your standard of writing is. Even, if your first article gets a lot of criticism, do not lose heart. Take the experience as a learner, and remember not to make the similar mistakes again.
  3. Read: – Reading is another way to improve your writing skills. You could go to the library to search for books on writing. You can read the books of your favourite writer or subject to know about various kind of writing styles. These books contain essential steps of writing and help you to improve your writing skills. Apart from non-fiction books, you can also read fiction books of a wide range of categories. This will allow you to observe the styles of various authors.

Write something everyday, after sometime writing will become your habit. This way, you will be able to write almost every topic.

Difference between Recruitment and Selection

August 25, 2012

The process of hiring new candidates to fill the vacancies in a company is known as recruitment. Effective recruitment is important in achieving high organizational goals. Employment recruitment is composed of various stages which are:

  • Verifying a Vacancy
  • Preparing the Job Specification
  • Finding the Candidates
  • Interviewing the Candidates
  • Issuing a Job Offer

In general, recruitment, and selection seems to be quite similar but there is slighter difference between the two terms.

  1. Recruitment is a process of searching the candidates for employment, and inducing them to apply for jobs in the organization. While selection involves a number of steps by which the candidate are tested for selecting the most suitable person for vacant posts.
  2. The main purpose of recruitment is to create a team of talented candidates to ensure the selection of best candidates for the organization. Recruitment helps in attracting more candidates to apply in the organization. Whereas the basic purpose of selection process is to choose the right candidate to fill the vacant positions in the organization.
  3. Recruitment is considered as the positive process because it encourages more candidates to apply whereas selection is considered as a negative process as it involves rejection of the unsuitable candidates.
  4. Recruitment is concerned with using the sources of human resources whereas selection is concerned with selecting the most suitable candidate through various interviews and tests.

Tax Saving Tips and Tricks in India

August 25, 2012

Generally, we used to plan our tax saving at the end of each financial year in February and  March. It hampers our budget in those 2-3 months as we invest all our income to get benefit on tax. Insurance agents also get more active during this time as they easily found customer to complete their targets. Due to instant decision that we take, sometimes we invest our money in wrong investment scheme. It is also found that agents sell wrong policies to their customers during this period.

Due to lack of time and deadline that we have to submit our investment proofs, we never do much research on the available investment options. We just pay the premium, get the receipt and submit it as the investment proof. Many people do their entire investment during this time. So, they also borrow money from their friends and relatives. It unnecessarily affect their budget as they need to pay all these dues in upcoming months. The best way to avoid such situation is to start your tax saving from the very beginning of financial year.

Plan your investment at the beginning helps you to choose the best scheme of investment. You can bargain an agent on the premium while taking a life insurance or ULIP plan. Many agents offer you to pay upto 50% of your first premium at their own. But, they provide such offers only in initial months of the financial year as they hardly get customer to complete their targets. Starting your investment from the early age helps you to maintain your budget also. You can allocate a fixed amount of your earnings for saving purpose. With the small investments that you do every month, you can complete your saving needs. Doing so reduces your burden at the end of financial year.

Benefits of Marriage Certificate

August 25, 2012

A marriage registration certificate is a document which depicts that you are legally married to someone. Marriage registrar office issue this certificate after receiving the marriage registration application form by the applicant. Marriage certificate provides social security, self confidence to the women, and it works as valuable evidence of marriage.

Obtaining a passport, changing your maiden name, getting a dependent visa, and opening a new joint bank account needs a marriage certificate. It also helps while claiming a fixed deposit or life insurance benefits when insurer or depositor dies without a nomination declaration. Some other benefits of a marriage certificate are given here. It helps in:

  1. Claiming a property to the surviving spouse in case of death of the partner.
  2. Solemnising the second marriage if first one goes for dissolution.
  3. For legal separation or divorce, marriage certificate need to be produced in court which helps to transfer the property and custody of children.
  4. Obtaining a work permit if one of the partner wants to work abroad and wants to take along  his/her spouse.
  5. Ensuring a minimum legal age for marriage.
  6. Stopping the practice of child marriage.

As per the supreme court’s directive all the marriages should be registered irrespective of the religion  and cast.

Applying for Marriage Certificate in India

August 25, 2012

Have you recently got married ? Then you probably be aware of a marriage certificate. After getting married, you need to get your marriage registered in the marriage registrar office that falls in your area. As per the marriage rules in India, the legal age for bride and bridegroom are 18 and 21 years respectively. You can apply for marriage registration free of cost within 1 months from the marriage date. Thereafter, a late fees of Rs 250 to Rs 300 is charged with the application form. Process to apply for the marriage certificate is given below:

  1. Complete the application form in all respect duly signed by Bride and Bridegroom.
  2. Fill two evidence’s basic details and get their sign on the application form.
  3. Affix one joint photograph on the application form and attach two photographs with it.
  4. Bride and bridegroom should sign in a way on the form so that half sign should appear on the photograph and half on the application form.
  5. Attach affidavit of bride, bridegroom and their parents which clearly indicate place and date of the marriage.
  6. Attach a marriage invitation card with the application form.
  7. Attach a copy of banquet hall rent receipt where wedding ceremony is solemnised.
  8. Attach 5 marriage photographs which clearly depict marriage of bride and bridegroom.
  9. Attach a certificate issued by the priest who solemnised the marriage.
  10. Attach copy of address proof of bride and bridegroom separately.
  11. Attach copy of age proof of bride and bridegroom separately.
  12. Submit the application form in marriage registrar office.

You will get the marriage certificate within 15-20 days from the application submission date. Keep getting updates from the marriage registrar office regarding your marriage certificate after submitting the application form.