Journal #259

Today marks the end of the two days course on Achieving Excellence in Technical Writing. At the end of the course, the professor gave us our certificates. But I won’t be posting picture of that certificate because of potential identity fraud.

I want to use this chance to talk about the things I have learnt, what I have achieved, how I feel in general and why, what I’m grateful for, and lastly, I want to share what I watched and what’s the take away.

What I learnt

The second day of the course taught us a few things. Many of these things are taught when we were in primary and secondary school. But as we got older, we started forgetting these things because we don’t apply them or thought that we don’t need them anymore.

The first thing is writing should be concise, clear, concrete, consistent, courteous, and coherent.

Second thing is the importance of visual presentation of textual content for easier comprehension. For example, the use of mind maps.

The third thing is the proper use of transition words. Good use of transition words help the reader to connect ideas the writer is trying to get across.

The fourth thing is applying parallelism in writing. It helps with the overall readability and is especially useful when you are listing. One example of listing is the writing of instructions for people to follow.

The fifth thing is how a sentence shouldn’t have more than an average of 15-17 words for easier readability and comprehension, and lower chance of errors.

The sixth thing is the ideal length of a paragraph is seven lines of text.

The seventh thing is the importance of defining a term properly if we are to use it specifically for the writing we are doing and the term has other meaning in other context. It is to ensure that we control the meaning of the word and not confuse the reader.

Building on top of these basics is how to write reports. A good report should start with the objective, properly packaged, contain an executive summary, has good organization and structure.

Organization and structure refer to two different things in a report. Organization refers to the grouping of related content while structure refers to the sections of the report with proper headings. With that said, the general structure of a report is as follows:

  1. Purpose
  2. Background
  3. Problem
  4. Discussion
  5. Conclusion and recommendation

Within each section of the report, there should be an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Things I’m proud of

For the course’s final exercise, which is an exercise on writing a recommendation report, I was genuinely surprised my group was able to create a concise report (no more than 400 words) by focusing on the things that matter.

What is the plan

It would be necessary to apply what I learnt from the course in my daily writing. If you don’t apply it, after a while, you will start to forget them. Then, it will be such a waste of your time, energy, and money. So that is what I will be doing.

How I feel

I’m feeling great about finishing a course that I wanted to take and solidify my journey towards more writing.

At the same time, I’m also feeling a little anxious about my work. I have to test out several things in the customer’s environment and clean up the data for production use tomorrow. I’m anxious because the date the customer will start using the system is fast approaching and I don’t know if the system will fall apart in actual use.

Being Grateful

I’m grateful that I’m still alive today and get the chance to gain new insights and knowledge to develop myself further.

What I am watching

Watching the above video, the key takeaway for me is how an idea is so fragile and abstract. If you didn’t solidify the idea as an object, you won’t be able see how far you can take it and communicate it with other people.

The other takeaway is the difficulty of creating something from nothing. The other thing that will be on your mind is you don’t know whether the end user will like what you created.

The last takeaway is more of a reinforcement of an existing knowledge. It is how users are able to perceive carelessness and care in a product. Therefore, it is important, I think, for designers or people who create to be obsessive about the details of the product they are working on and be user-centered. If they aren’t obsessive, then they won’t be able to transmit the feeling of care being given the end product.