A Day in the Life of a Technical Writer

Well, this technical writer at Microsoft I mean. This post started with a colleague’s request:

We want to capture some information for applicants to tech writing jobs at Microsoft about what the job really entails. In 300 words or less, tell us:

  • What your typical day looks like.
  • Your standard title
  • Your team
  • Your product
  • Your audience
  • Tasks you do on a daily basis
  • Meetings on your schedule
  • Challenges
  • Coping mechanisms

Note to self: using the Word Count tool built in to Windows Live Writer – I can see that up to the begging of this sentence my word count was 71. This data helps me plan the rest of the post, since word count is one of the success criteria. Hrrm.. not going to be able to get a narrative and the data I want into that word count. Going to have to embrace and extend the WC requirement and use some bulleted lists and acronymns…

So here goes – <word count on>

I am a technical writer on the Hyper-V team, writing for IT Pros. I also blog to IT Pros at http://blogs.technet.com/tonyso.

Having kept a loose running count of a typical today, I tally the following:

  • F2F meetings = 2 hours
  • Remote meeting = 1 hour
  • Project management = 1.5 hours
  • Emails received today = 768
  • Emails deleted after reading the subject line = 701
  • Emails read completely, then deleted = 10
  • Emails read completely, then replied to = 41
  • Emails read completely, then scheduled for future action  = 14
  • Emails read completely, then sent to OneNote = 2
  • Times used Live Search to find a resource that I hyperlinked into content = 12
  • Times used send to OneNote from IE PowerToy = 3
  • Forums trolled for content issues = 12
  • Blogs reviewed for content issues and research = 23
  • Web metrics and search terms revived for content issues = .5 hours
  • Bug review and management = .5 hours
  • Status reporting = .5 hours

Tools used 1> today:

Challenges include our internal content-authoring managing distractions, tasks, and deadlines. Coping mechanism include music, humor, caffeine, and the tools above – without which, succeeding at this job would be impossible.

Words including this final sentence = 243, time spent start-to-finish = 18 minutes.

Comments (1)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, this technical writer at Microsoft I mean. This post started with a colleague’s request: We want

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