Friday, May 16, 2008

Release Relief

I clearly picture in my mind's eye how my nieces would respond if I said to them.

'I'm so glad this release is done!'

Little Finnish eyebrows furrow, 'Huh?'

As you may know, I work as a technical writer and I write books and information for computer users. But the users that I write for are not the average users. These users are the brains behind things like operating equipment that enables the Internet. And in my case, the information that I write helps them secure the Internet from viruses, intruders, and so on.

Today, I turned my books in for the upcoming release of a new product.

In early April, my manager says simply, 'You might want to adjust your work-flow so that there isn't a crisis at the release.'

So we do.

Waking at sunrise, working late, and the effort pays off for the most part and I can enjoy my lunch today and write a few words on my blog.

Yeah, imagine that. I write for a living, yet I write to unwind? *laughing*

We technical writers do not have by lines. (For anyone out there who was confused by the phrase 'by line' like I was for decades, it means a reference to the author like 'By Tim Somero'.) So we labor largely anonymous to the general public.

But even then, would you really understand (or care to read?) about the inner-workings of a computer?

I worked with a seasoned and accomplished technical writer at IBM and he told me a great technical writer's story.

Dennis says in his quiet, methodical voice, 'I went to my 40th high school reunion last weekend.'

I smile, 'Sounds like fun. How was it?'

He smiles and says, 'I had a great time. People asked me what I do for work. I lied. I told them that I am a science fiction writer. People said to me, 'Is that so? I never read any of your work.''

I grin seeing where he is going with this.

'So I said, 'Oh don't worry. No one else has either.''

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