Technical writing is an essential element of countless products and services. So why is appreciation of it on the decline? Our guest, Chris Ward (or Chris Chinchilla as you may know him), is a talented writer. Not just of technical content, but also of fiction and music! He’s here to kick our writing brains into gear with a simple piece of advice: just start. Richard agrees that he needs to hear this as much as our listeners and that it’s one of the biggest hurdles for people who want to write - sitting down and actually doing it.
A lot of people in DevRel either write, or think about getting into writing. So how do you move from the group of people who want to, to the group of people who do? And why would you want to do it in the first place? There are many reasons. Whether you joined a team for your code and now you’re expected to write an eloquent newsletter on the uses of that code, or you’d like to write a book on your specialist subject to promote your expertise in it. Technical writing is a skill with endless applications. Writing a book for example, can be a fun challenge, as well as an asset you refer back to for years to come. Notice how we didn’t put “to make eye-watering profits” on that list. Yeah. That’s the first lesson in writing books, and Chris tells us all about it. The respect (and money) given to technical writers isn’t what it once was. And yet the services they provide are more relevant than ever.
There’s also the small factor that when you finally publish your book, you’re going to be talking about the contents of it for months and possibly years to come. So you’d better make sure the subject matter is one that you won’t easily get sick of (Chris may be speaking from experience on this one). Chris is also a musician, and he speaks about the connections between music and coding, how pattern recognition makes these two a lot more similar than you might think. And Richard makes Chris’s day by bringing up OctaMED, a long-forgotten Amiga music programme that they both lost hours to back in the day. How far they’ve come!