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What is your writing process?

by madness006
Tags: process, writing
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madness006
#1
Jan14-09, 09:22 PM
P: 4
Hi I need to Interview a Computer or Electrical Engineer for an assignment. If somebody could answer the following questions it would be much appreciated.

What type of communications do you write ( Proposals, instructions, memos, etc)?

What types of readers do you address?

What is your writing process?

What type of technology do you use to write?

How much time in your job do you spend writing?

How else does writing fit into your job?
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berkeman
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Jan15-09, 08:02 PM
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Quote Quote by madness006 View Post
Hi I need to Interview a Computer or Electrical Engineer for an assignment. If somebody could answer the following questions it would be much appreciated.

What type of communications do you write ( Proposals, instructions, memos, etc)?
As a Design Engineer in the R&D Lab, I write Functional Specs to describe the product that I'm working on, as well as Theory of Operation documents to describe complicated circuits or products. These are both internal-only documents. I also write Application Notes of various kinds for customer consumption. I've also written other documents like Manufacturing Test Specifications for some of my products, and I also write test software occasionally.

I have written and given a number of presentations at conferences, usually in PowerPoint, but sometimes in other forms.

There is also a huge volume of e-mail -- probably more typing on e-mail than all of the other documents combined.

Oh, and I also post at my company's technical web forum (like the PF, but supporting my company's industry).

What types of readers do you address?
Internal company readers are other engineers, technicians, managers, and company executives.

External readers are our customers and others in the general industry.

What is your writing process?
Depends a bit on what I'm writing, but in general I try to outline what I'm going to write first, and fill out the outline over the course of days or weeks (depending on the timeline for the doc). This helps me brainstorm issues and solutions, and get the issues and concepts in the best order for understanding by my readers. Once the outline is pretty good, I'll do a draft. I'm a very fast typist, so this is basically done at talking speed as I work through the outline. The outline is generally circulated to a few people (especially my manager) for comments, and the drafts will go on our internal servers for wider review and feedback. Most of my documents have a "Change History" section, where the changes between the various drafts and revisions are tracked. Drafts start out with Rev 0.1 typically, and the first real release is Rev 1.0.

What type of technology do you use to write?
The first outline may be pen-and-paper, or a Notepad *.TXT simple document. Later outlines, drafts and final docs are in Microsoft Word, using the Heading Levels to match the structure of my outline.

How much time in your job do you spend writing?
At least half, but the bulk of that is e-mails. As a Design Engineer, I prefer to be in the lab or using tools on my PCs, but the reality is that the time spent on the actual design of a product is much less than all of the other supporting tasks (documenting, testing, supporting customers, etc.)

How else does writing fit into your job?
The only thing that comes to mind is the EE design tools I use. You don't really "write" per se with them, but you draw circuits, write software code, write HDL or Verilog code for chip designs, etc.


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